What to Expect During your CT Scan

What is an MRI?

An MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is used in radiology to develop pictures of the body and it’s anatomy. Using magnetic fields in MRI scanners, radio waves are able to generate images of inside the body for experts to view the organs. 

The pictures from an MRI scan are very detailed and allow doctors to get an inside look to better diagnose patients. They are often used to see where you are in a specific stage of a disease or as a follow up to how a patient has responded to a treatment. 

Doctors use MRIs for brain injuries, MS, strokes, heart disease, cancer, bone infections and many other reasons. An MRI can also be used to check the general health of organs such as the kidney, liver, prostate and ovaries. If you are experiencing pain in your joints or specific areas of your body, the doctor may order a MRI to check on the causes of this pain.

MRI vs Xray

MRI scans are often seen as an advanced choice for imaging depending on the particular pathology they are searching for. In hospital and clinic settings, MRI’s are used for medical diagnosis and to identify the presence of disease. 

MRI’s do not expose the body to radiation, however there are some risks and discomfort associated with an MRI scan. The patient will experience a louder, longer scan and usually need to enter a tube in order to complete the MRI. If you do not do well in enclosed spaces or with loud noises, don’t be afraid to let your doctor know. They have special procedures and also medications to relax you during the test that can help!

Preparing for an MRI

Before your MRI, your MRI tech will ask you a series of questions and help you prepare for the test. You should have an understanding of your history and provide them information about any recent health problems, surgeries, if you are pregnant and if you have any allergies or have asthma.

The magnetic machine used for the MRI will attract metal, so you are not allowed to wear any metal during your scan. This means you should remove all piercings and inform your MRI tech if you have any metal inside your body. Even some tattoos may contain metal, so talking to your MRI tech about anything on your body that can potentially affect the results is important.

Depending on the type of study, the technologist may ask you to remove jewelry, bras with underwires, eyeglasses, watches, dentures, keys and anything in your pocket such as coins and cell phone.

What to Expect During Your CT Scan

Upon arrival you will need to complete paperwork, once paperwork is completed the technologist will call you back and take you to the dressing rooms to have you changed as needed.

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Stomach/Intestine/Generalized
Exam time approximately 80 minutes

The technologist will first have you drink oral contrast. This contrast is gastrografin mixed with 32 oz of fluid. After you start drinking the contrast there will be a one hour wait before your scan to allow the contrast to move through the small and enter the large intestine. Depending
on the order from your doctor, the technologist may administer IV contrast. If you are getting IV contrast the technologist will verify kidney functions prior to your test with blood drawn at the same time the IV is started.

Upon request you can pick up the oral contrast and drink it one hour prior to arriving for your appointment to minimize wait time at the facility.

Kidney Stones
Exam time approximately 20 minutes

After changing the technologist will take into the CT room and there will be no contrast for this exam.

Urogram (Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder, Prostate)
Exam time approximately 30 minutes

After changing the technologist will take you into the Ct room. There they will start an IV. At the time of the IV the technologist will also draw blood to test kidney prior to injecting the IV contrast.

The technologist will then take three sets of pictures, after the first three sets of pictures the technologist will come in the room to inject the IV contrast and walk you through any change in sensation you might experience. After injection there be another set of images that will follow the contrast through the area of interest. After this set of images the technologist will come in to verify you are feeling okay, and remove the IV. After a 15 minute delay the technologist will take one last set of images.

Enterography
Exam time approximately 90 minutes

When scheduling the technologist will review preparation instructions with you. This exam will consist of both oral contrast(by mouth) and IV contrast. After changing, the technologist will start the IV and draw blood to test you kidney function.

The technologist will then have you drink three bottles of volumen – the first bottle over 20 minutes, the second bottle over the subsequent 20 minutes, and the third bottle of the next 10 minutes. The timing for this is incredibly important as we are timing the movement of the small bowel.

After the last ten minutes the technologist will bring you into the CT room and hook the IV contrast up to you IV. The technologist will then take 3 sets of images. After the first 3 sets of images the technologist will come into the and let you know they will be injecting the contrast into the IV. The technologist will leave the room before the injection starts. While the injection is being administered the technologist will take one last set of images.

Visceral Organs (Liver, Pancreas, Spleen)
Exam time approximately 40 minutes

After changing the technologist will take you into the CT room and start an IV and draw blood to test your kidney functions. After kidney functions are confirmed the technologist will then come in the room to hook the contrast up to your iv.

The technologist will take 2 or 3 sets of images depending on the doctor’s order. The technologist will then come into the room and advise you the IV contrast will be started shortly and inform you of some sensations you might experience. The technologist will then leave the room and acquire 2 more sets of images while the contrast is being injected. At this point you will be informed of a 5 minute delay, after the 5 minutes the technologist will take one last set of images and then enter the room to remove your IV.

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