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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bone Density?Also called DEXA (Duel Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) enables the radiologist to assess the bone mineral status of the spine, hip and other skeletal sites to confirm bone loss. This scan is most often used for Osteoporosis screening.
What is a CT ScanA computed Tomography (CT) scan is a procedure that results in a cross-sectional picture of a specific body part or organ. A thin x-ray beam moves rapidly around the designated area, generating multiple images from different angles. An electronic detector relays these images on a TV screen. CT scans are completely painless. When contrast media is injected you may feel slight discomfort from the needle.
What is Contrast Media?Contrast Media is a Iodined solution used with CT, non Iodined solution for MRI that is injected into your vein to allow better imaging of blood vessels and organs.
What about my medical history?Be sure to tell us if you're pregnant, have a history of kidney disease, diabetic, are allergic to any foods or drugs or are being treated for any type of infection. We'll also need to know if you've had contrast media in the past and if you had any side effects at that time.
How do I prepare for a CT scan?If contrast media will be used during your scan, you may be asked to fast for three to four hours beforehand. You may also be asked not to drink anything for one hour before the exam. For a body scan, you'll be asked to wear a gown and to remove all jewelry. For a head scan, wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove dentures, glasses, hearing aids, earrings, hairpins and any other items that may be detected by the x-ray beam.
What will happen during my CT scan?You'll lie on a table and the part of your body to be scanned will be positioned in the middle of the opening. If contrast media is to be used, some preliminary scan may be made before the injection. It's important that you remain as still as possible so that the scanner can get the best possible pictures.
What is a Digital Mammography?A screening and diagnostic procedure used to help detect cancer or other breast disease, a mammogram provides an outline picture of the breast compiled from x-rays taken from above and from the side of the breast. Both breasts are x-rayed during the exam to provide comparative images. Because the breasts are flattened so that all tissue can be seen, you may experience some discomfort.
How do I prepare for a Mammogram?Be sure to bring any previous studies with you if not done at Palm Beach Radiology. There's no need to change your normal routine prior to your exam; how-ever, don't use deodorant, perfume, talcum powder or any other cream or ointment on your breasts or under-arms before the exam to ensure that the mammogram is not obscured. Wear a two-piece outfit since you'll need to undress about the waist for the exam.
What is MRI?Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a test used to see detailed images inside the body without using x-rays or radioactive injections. MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields to align atoms within the body. You'll feel no pain, discomfort or sensation of any kind during the MRI.
What about my medical history?Tell your technologist about any metal that might be detected during the exam, including metal implants, surgical staples, aneurysm clips, a pacemaker, defibullator, shrapnel, hearing aids, dental bridges, cochlear implants, dorsal column stimulator,, body tattoos, or an inferior vena cava umbrella. Also, let us know if you're pregnant or if you've ever been a metal worker, or if you have kidney disease.
How do I prepare for an MRI?Prior to your exam, go about your normal routine, including activities, meals and medications, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. When you arrive at Palm Beach Radiology, take any medication you may have that will help you relax, such as pain medication. Just before the exam, you may need to change out of your clothing into a gown.
What will happen during my MRI?You'll lie on a scanning bed which, depending on the area being examined, will totally or partially move into the opening of the MRI. In many instances your head and shoulders will not be inside the bore, but if so, the equipment is designed so that light and air flow freely throughout for your comfort. Any movement will blur the image, so lie as still as possible, breathe normally and try to relax. Headphones will be provided if you would like to listen to music during the scan.
What is Ultrasound?Also called Sonography or Ultrasonography, this extremely accurate diagnostic procedure used sound waves to produce images of "soft tissue" which cannot be duplicated with x-rays. As sound waves pass into the body, they are reflected back as they strike various organs. A hand-held instrument called a "transducer" receives and interprets the reflected signal.
How do I prepare for an Ultrasound?Before certain exams, your technologist may ask you to drink fluids or empty your bladder. Avoid gas-producing foods for two days prior to the exam. Patients are asked to fast for up to 8 hours at a time, depending on the type of ultrasound ordered. No other preparation is needed.
What will happen during my Ultrasound?You'll lie comfortably on a bed. To help sound waves pass into your body more easily, water-based gel will be applied to your skin over the target area. The sonographer will pass the transducer over the specified area several times.
What is X-Ray?X-ray, the most common diagnostic procedure, uses short wavelength radiation that can penetrate solid body masses, resulting in film images of bones, cartilage and other internal anatomical features. X-rays are completely painless and, in fact, involve no direct patient-equipment contact.
How do I prepare for X-rays?There's no need to change your normal routine prior to your exam. As always, let your technologist know if you are, or possibly could be pregnant, or have metal implants or similar devices. Their presence may not affect the exam, but knowing about them will make it easier for the radiologist to read the x-rays.
What will happen during X-ray?You may be asked to change into a gown to avoid detection of clothing zippers and buttons. After changing, your technologist will position you lying, sitting, or standing next to the machine, depending on the view to be taken.
Are X-rays harmful?X-rays are made up of ionizing radiation, so long-term exposure can be harmful; the amount of radiation you're exposed to during an x-ray exam is minimal.
If X-rays aren't harmful why do the technologists stand behind lead shields?During a normal work week, an x-ray technologist or radiologist could potentially be exposed to hours of radiation from the exams they perform. Because of the cumulative effective such exposure could have on them over many years, they stand behind a lead barrier to protect themselves from long-term exposure.