Dos and Don’ts With Medical Imaging Scans
When you have a diagnostic imaging scan or procedure involving medical imaging, it can seem like there are a lot of things to remember. Your doctor has ordered a test and now you want to know what’s next? Is it safe? What does this mean? In all the confusion, Touchstone Imaging is here to make sure your medical imaging test process is seamless, and you know exactly what is happening and how to prepare. We assist you by scheduling your exam, verifying your benefits, obtaining insurance authorization, and providing you with an appointment time that is convenient for you. In addition, we are committed to your safety and peace of mind. In this blog, we’ll outline the dos and don’ts when it comes to your diagnostic imaging procedure.
- Wear comfortable clothing – Metal is not allowed for safety reasons. If you have metal-free clothing, wear that and make sure you are comfortable. If you do not wear metal-free, comfortable clothing, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
- Make sure you are free of metal – Most machines that perform diagnostic imaging scans, like MRI machines, have a very strong magnetic force. No metal objects are allowed in and around the machine. Even makeup that has potential traces of metal in it is not allowed, for your safety.
- Remain still – These tests require you to be incredibly still. It’s important to think about whether or not you will have a panic attack, get claustrophobic, or can’t stay still. In that case, an open MRI machine or an oral sedative might be something to speak with your physician about.
- Disclose your medical history – It’s important to disclose your medical history to your medical imaging team. They should know if you are diabetic, pregnant, possibly pregnant, or breastfeeding. Radiation is especially harmful to women who are pregnant so if you are, your doctor may suggest a different exam.
- Monitor your blood glucose – If you are diabetic, you may be asked to have your blood glucose levels as close to 100 mg/dL as possible prior to the test. If your blood sugar is too high, you will have to reschedule your exam.
- Follow the dietary restrictions – The day before your procedure, you’ll need to follow a specific diet. Your radiologist will let you know the specifics, but generally, you’ll have to limit carbohydrates like bread and pasta, as well as starchy vegetables like potatoes. If you have a morning appointment, you’ll be asked to avoid eating anything after midnight.
- Ask questions – It’s important to know as much as possible about your procedure, and at Touchstone Imaging we strive to be as open as possible when it comes to your procedure. Some beneficial questions to ask are:
- Why do I need this scan?
- How will the results change my treatment?
- Are there any lower-radiation or radiation-free alternatives?
- What’s the plan to minimize my long-term radiation exposure?
- Know the facts – Radiation is a large concern when it comes to tests like CT scans and X-rays. In large doses, radiation can damage cells, contributing to cancer development. However, having one CT scan will, approximately, increase your risk of life-threatening cancer by one in 2,000. That being said, radiation exposure from a single scan has a minimal impact on your total lifetime cancer risk.
- Wear makeup – Makeup often has traces of metal in it, so it’s best to avoid it completely.
- Bring metal with you – Even small objects like rings and earrings can pose a threat to your health. When you come for your scan, make sure you are completely void of any metal.
- Move – It’s important during a medical imaging scan to make sure you are as still as possible. Any movement can disrupt the results of your test.
- Neglect taking prescriptions – If you take prescription medications, you can take them with water only. Don’t take any over-the-counter medicines like antacids, cough syrups, or ibuprofen. In addition, you should avoid mints, candy, and multivitamins.
At Touchstone Imaging, we are committed to the highest quality diagnostic imaging services around. This includes making sure our patients have a thorough understanding of how their scan works, and how to be prepared. Find an imaging center near you today to get started.