Ready. Set. Hello.
We want your exam to be as comfortable and hassle-free as possible, so we provide all the information you’ll need to prepare before you arrive. By following these instructions carefully—both the general instructions and those that apply to your specific exam, below—you help us to ensure the best possible diagnostic quality.
Radiology Exam general preparation:
- Please arrive at least 20 minutes before your radiology exam appointment. If you must cancel or reschedule, call us at least 24 hours in advance.
- If you are pregnant, or think you might be pregnant, let your doctor know. In most cases, X-ray exams will not be done on a pregnant patient.
- Tell us if you are breastfeeding.
- If you are diabetic and taking insulin, ask your physician for specific instructions regarding the dosages for the day of your examination.
- If you are on a medically-ordered, fluid-restricted diet or if you have kidney failure or a kidney transplant, discuss radiology exam preparation with your physician, who may alter your instructions. Your physician should inform us if any change is made in the preparation.
- If your radiology exam requires you to fast beforehand and is scheduled for the afternoon, you may have 8 – 12 ounces of water around 7:00 am. Otherwise don’t eat, drink, smoke or chew before the exam.
What you should bring:
- Prescription or referral from your physician.
- List of medications you take, including non-prescription medications and supplements.
- Insurance cards.
- Any previous, relevant imaging exams and reports performed outside of our network.
- Medical history, including whether you may be pregnant or breastfeeding currently.
- Pathology reports.
Radiology Exam Procedure-Specific Instructions:
Different radiology exams have different preparation requirements. Our staff will discuss specific instructions with you, and you can review the information below. Please click on the + sign for more information.
If you have had a breast biopsy, please tell us. To minimize your discomfort, schedule your exam two to three days after the end of your period when your breasts will be less tender. Do not wear lotions, perfume, powder, deodorant or glitter on the breast or underarm area.
Wear a two-piece outfit for the exam if you would like to undress only above the waist. After donning a gown, the technologist will have you lie down on the ultrasound table and apply warm gel to the breast, to help the hand-held transducer transmit the sound waves.
Because the MRI uses a powerful magnet, our staff will carefully screen you to make sure that you don’t have any ferromagnetic metals on or in your body that could interfere with the magnet. For your safety, it is essential that you inform staff of any such objects.
Before you schedule an MRI, tell your doctor if you think you’re pregnant. Your doctor may recommend choosing an alternative exam or postponing the MRI. It’s also important to discuss any kidney or liver problems with your doctor and the technologist, because problems with these organs may limit the use of injected contrast agents during your scan. A contrast (gadolinium) injection may be necessary to provide better information in some MRI exams. Our staff will notify you at the time you schedule your MRI if this is necessary in your exam. Most MRIs do not involve a contrast injection.
Before an MRI exam, eat normally and continue to take your usual medications, unless otherwise instructed. You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, watches, wigs, dentures, hearing aids, underwire bras and metallic make-up.
- If you are taking Coumadin (a blood thinning medication), arrange with your doctor to stop taking the medication 24-48 hours before your MR Arthrography appointment.
- Ask your physician to arrange an INR (International Normalized Ratio) blood test before your appointment. If the result is above 1.5, you will need to reschedule. Please bring your blood test results with you.
- If you are taking aspirin or other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like Motrin, Aleve or Naprosyn, stop taking it three (3) days before your appointment, with your doctor’s permission.
- Please arrive one hour and 15 minutes before your appointment so that you have time to drink a special barium solution that helps us better see the bowel. Do not eat or drink anything except water at least eight (8) hours prior to your procedure, and preferably beginning at 12 pm. (midnight) the night before your procedure.
- Do not wear metal (including metallic make-up) or jewelry. Let your doctor know if you have any implants, such as a pacemaker or cardiac defibrillator, a brain aneurysm clip, a cardiac stent, stimulators or metal in any part of your body.
- Notify us in advance if you have renal (kidney) disease. If you are, or think you may be, pregnant, tell your physician.
- Remove metal and plastic items from the part of your body being examined.
- If you could be pregnant, are breast feeding, are allergic to contrast medium (dye), or are diabetic, please tell our staff.
Special instructions for a Head, Neck, Chest or Lung scan
Do not eat anything for two (2) hours before your scan.
Special instructions for an Abdominal or Pelvic scan
Do not eat anything for two (2) hours before your scan. Before your scan, you may be asked to drink a liquid to help us visualize your bowel.
- Do not eat or drink anything except clear liquids for three (3) hours before the exam.
- Please arrive one hour and 15 minutes before your appointment so that you have time to drink the very thin oral contrast. This will help to distend your bowel, permitting better visualization of the intestinal tract.
- If you could be pregnant, are breast feeding, are allergic to intravenous contrast medium (dye), or are diabetic, please notify a member of our staff.
- Do not eat, drink, chew gum, or use cough drops or mints for five (5) hours before your exam. Avoid caffeine, sugar, tobacco and heavy exercise for 48 hours before your exam.
- If you need to take medication before your exam, use a very small amount of water to swallow the pills. If you are diabetic, please contact the office in advance for instructions.
- Do not take any calcium supplements for 24 hours before your exam.
- If you have had an X-ray that used any contrast material (dye) or a nuclear medicine study, schedule your DEXA exam at least one week after those tests.
- At most centers, if you weigh more than 300 pounds, only your forearm will be scanned. To find a center that can accommodate up to 350 pounds, call us.
For gallbladder (HIDA) and gastric emptying scans
Do not eat, drink or take pain medication for six (6) hours before the exam. Do not have any test that requires the use of contrast media (dye) for four weeks before your scan. Do not wear an underwire bra or metal buttons.
For nuclear stress test (cardiology)
Do not ingest caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate) for 24 hours before the exam. Do not eat or drink on the morning of the exam. (Continue to take blood pressure medication as prescribed; ask us or your doctor if you are unsure.) Do not take beta blockers for 48 hours before the exam. Wear comfortable, loose clothing, but no shirts with metal snaps or buttons, no one-piece dresses or slips, and no underwire bras.
For thyroid exams
Do not eat or drink for four hours before the exam. Do not have any test that requires the use of contrast media (dye) for four weeks before your scan. Discontinue medicines containing iodine and thyroid hormones before the exam; use the following schedule, but always contact your referring physician for approval:
- Synthroid—discontinue this medication 4 weeks before your scan.
- Thyroxine—discontinue this medication 7 to 10 days before your scan.
- Triiodothyronine—discontinue this medication at least 3 days before your scan.
- PTU and Tapazole—discontinue these medications at least 3 days before your scan.
Drink 32 ounces of fluid one hour before your exam and do not empty your bladder until the test is completed.
For all OB patients, drink 24 ounces of water one hour before your exam and do not empty your bladder until the test is completed.
Biophysical profile (BPP)
This test determines the health of your fetus by checking movement, increases in heart rate, muscle tone, breathing rate, and amount of amniotic fluid. Eat or drink something sweet one hour prior to the ultrasound exam, unless contraindicated by your physician.
Gallbladder and abdominal ultrasound
Do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum for six (6) hours before the test.
- If you are scheduled for arthrographic fluoroscopy and are taking Coumadin (a blood thinning medication), arrange with your doctor’s permission to stop taking the medication one or two days (24-48 hours) before your appointment. Ask your physician to arrange an INR (International Normalized Ratio) blood test before your appointment. If the result is above 1.5, you will need to reschedule your appointment. Please bring your blood test results with you.
- If you are scheduled for arthrographic fluoroscopy and are taking aspirin or other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Motrin, Aleve or Naprosyn, stop taking it three (3) days before your appointment, with your primary care physician’s approval.
For GI/ small bowel exams
Do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum after midnight the night before your exam. You may brush your teeth, but avoid swallowing any water.
For barium enema and air contrast enema exams
Pick up a prep kit from the office where your exam is scheduled at least 24 hours before your appointment. Follow the instructions in the kit. For those with a colostomy or for children under 12, please call our office for special instructions.