Will the exam be covered by my insurance?
Every plan is different. While most plans cover radiology services there are still some that do not cover 100%. Deductibles and co-pay policies vary with different carriers. We recommend you contact your insurance company directly prior to your visit if there are any questions regarding coverage.
What is Pre-Authorization? Do I need it?
Some insurance carriers require your referring physician to obtain a pre-authorization for select radiology procedures. We recommend you contact your insurance company directly prior to your visit if there are any questions regarding coverage.
Does ultrasound use x-rays or radiation?
No. Ultrasound (also known as a sonogram) emits high frequency sound waves (above the audible range of the human ear) to produce images of internal organs, tissues and vessels.
Are there any side effects from ultrasound?
No, there are no known side effects and it is considered to be very safe.
Who performs my ultrasound examination?
A registered sonographer will perform your examination.
How safe is an MRI exam?
MRI utilizes strong magnetic fields and radio wave energy. Magnetic fields and radio waves are not known to be harmful to the human body by themselves. They can however adversely interact with metal or implanted medical devices within your body. You will be screened for such items prior to your MRI exam. Most items are perfectly safe with a few important exceptions, for which the technologist will ask you about.
How safe is an X-ray exam?
Although it is generally felt that X-ray energy is not good for the tissues of the body, the amount of X-ray energy used for medical X-ray procedures is significantly low enough as to be considered very safe in most cases. The benefit of the information gained from medical imaging far outweighs the risk of the potential harm. There are however certain exceptions. For example, pregnant women should rarely receive X-rays, unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Children should have lead shielding to cover particular organs that are more sensitive to X-ray.
What is the difference between screening and diagnostic mammography?
Screening mammography is a tool used to detect early breast cancer in otherwise asymptomatic women. Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings such as a breast lump, breast pain, or nipple discharge. Diagnostic mammography may also be needed if an area of concern is identified on a screening mammogram.
“What special preparations and instructions should I know?”
Patients having CT scans schedule without contrast medium require no special preparation.
In preparation for a CT scan with the use of intravenous or oral contrast medium, patients are often asked to be NPO (nothing by mouth) four hours prior to having the exam. The only exception is for patients that are on prescribed medications. Prescribed medications may be swallowed with a small amount of water.
Patients who require oral contrast need to arrive one hour prior to their appointment to drink the contrast and allow it to advance to the intestines. If desired, patients may come to our center prior to their appointment date to obtain oral contrast and start the drinking at home.
“What is a contrast agent and why do I need it?”
A contrast agent is a safe liquid substance that makes certain tissues stand out more clearly against their surroundings. Contrast improves diagnostic accuracy. You may be given a contrast agent orally or intravenously. In all cases the contrast will leave the body naturally within a few hours. It is extremely important to drinking plenty of fluids after having a CT study performed. Drinking fluids helps the body expel the contrast medium through normal body functions.
“How long will the procedure take?”
The length of your CT exam depends upon which particular study or studies your doctor has ordered. Most exams are quick, lasting just a few minutes.
“What if I am claustrophobic?”
Only a small portion of the body is inside the machine at any time. Most patients do not find it uncomfortable. However, if you have had difficulty with a CT, please make your doctor aware. We are able to give a mild sedative to assist in easing your anxiety.
“What risks are associated with PET/CT?”
A PET/CT study is similar to other diagnostic procedures, such as CT and Nuclear Medicine. The radiopharmaceuticals in PET/CT imaging rarely cause any side effects.
“What happens after the exam?”
You may leave as soon as the scan is complete. If you normally drive, you should have no trouble driving yourself home. You may need a driver if you have had medication to relieve anxiety. You may resume eating and drinking, unless otherwise instructed. Drinking plenty of fluids will help you excrete the radiopharmaceutical from your system.
“When will I get my results?”
Your scan will be read by a board certified radiologist with specialized training in the interpretation of PET/CT imaging. Normally, results will be forwarded to your own physician within 24 hours of interpretation.
“Will insurance cover my PET/CT exam?”
Most insurance companies cover PET/CT imaging. Medicare and Medicaid also provide coverage for several PET/CT exams. If you have questions about coverage, please contact us at (863) 688-2334.