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EXAM PREPARATION

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.

  • If you are planning on taking sedation medication, please arrive one (1) hour before your appointment and do not start taking the medication until after you have completed the paper work on site. Please arrange for someone to drive you home from 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.

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.

Breast Imaging

Always let us know if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have breast implants. Use the relevant instructions below for your procedure:

Digital Mammography

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.

Breast Ultrasound

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.

Breast MRI

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.

MRI

The presence of metal in your body may be a safety hazard or affect a portion of the MRI image. Before receiving an MRI, tell the technologist if you have any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as metallic joint prostheses, artificial heart valves or cardiac stents, an implanted heart defibrillator, a pacemaker, metal clips, cochlear implants, a bullet, shrapnel or any other type of metal fragment.

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.

MR Arthography
  • 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 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 arrange for someone to drive you home from the exam.

MR Enterography
  • Please arrive one (1) 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 a.m. (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.

CT
  • 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 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.

DEXA
  • 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 the best patient care, please return to the same DEXA unit where you were initially scanned.

Ultrasound

Use the relevant special instructions below, as well as the general instructions at the top of this page.

Pelvic ultrasound

Drink 32 ounces of fluid one hour before your exam and do not empty your bladder until the test is completed.

Obstetrical ultrasound

  • 1st Trimester – drink 24 ounces of fluid one hour before the exam and do not empty your bladder until the test is completed.

  • 2nd Trimester – drink 24 ounces of fluid one hour before the exam and do not empty your bladder until the test is completed.

  • Limited in 2nd & 3rd Trimester:
    For growth, AFI, BPP, position or anatomy – no preparation needed.
    For cervical length, bleeding, placenta location – drink 28-32 ounces of fluid one hour before the 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.

X-Ray

This exam requires no special preparation. Use the general instructions at the top of this page.

Questions about how best to prepare for your exam?

Give us a call:

301-681-8242