Medical imaging is an extremely important and needed medical modality, as it helps decipher broken bones, bowel obstructions, cysts, and cancer. The information that X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans provide to both the patient and physician are invaluable in understanding the information each one provides is crucial. If you’re advocating for your health it’s important to know if the medical imaging is needed, so asking the right questions helps empower you and give you the information to make informed decisions.
If this is your first time experiencing medical imaging it can be intimidating, but rest assured, there is nothing to be worried about. The procedures are short and painless — in fact, you may even get to take a cat nap while undergoing the procedure! This post is to help guide you so you can make the best-informed decisions on your health, along with your doctor, when it comes to medical imaging.
At Touchstone Imaging, our guiding philosophy is patient-centered care from little details such as scheduling and insurance assistance to effective and efficient scanning and accurate reports — our office is about the individual. Comfort and care is our priority in the many medical imaging services we provide. Follow along as we address important questions to ask before your medical imaging appointment.
Stay Informed About Medical Imaging Services
Are there risks involved?
Many patients have nerves over having to have medical imaging performed, and the machines themselves don’t help! The medical imaging machines can be intimidating, but most of the time they are just loud. Other than parading around in a beautiful and fashionable hospital gown, the risks aren’t questioned too much when you go in for your procedure.
The amount of radiation is the most concern patients have when getting medical imaging and potential increased cancer risks. The FDA has concluded that the risk estimates are very low, even when compared to the natural risks of getting cancer. The takeaway message, is generally the benefits outweigh the risks.
Are there side effects?
Whether you’re getting a CT scan or MRI, you’re exposed to an energy source such as radiation or magnetic fields. Ask your healthcare practitioner if there are side effects such as allergic reactions to the imaging dyes.
Is the medical imaging necessary?
Another important decision to make in partnership with your doctor is if the medical imaging is completely necessary and if there are any alternatives. When your doctor recommends medical imaging, it is likely needed. If you have lost mobility in your limbs and your speech is slurred, there is no question that your doctor will order medical imaging to confirm what they see as a stroke, or, if you complain of potential appendicitis missing this because a scan wasn’t ordered carries a much harmful risk over getting a scan.
There are scenarios where if you have had medical imaging services to diagnose a condition that you currently have an additional scan won’t necessarily influence the course of treatment, so having an honest conversation with your doctor about what is best is crucial.
- Important questions to ask your doctor or health practitioner:
- Is this scan imperative?
- Will the results change the course of my treatment?
- Are there lower-radiation options?
- If additional scans are needed, how can we reduce my radiation exposure?
Is the imaging urgent?
In most cases, medical imaging isn’t urgent. You can assess your health issue over a set amount of time to see if it resolves itself, if it hasn’t, you may need medical imaging for more conclusive results. If the imaging is urgent, your doctor will let you know, and you can schedule it accordingly.
Other questions to consider:
- What is the medical imaging facility like and what is their reputation?
- How long does it take to get results back?
- Do they have assistance for people who suffer from claustrophobia?
- Is their medical imaging technology current?
Medical imaging is an important piece to many healthcare puzzles as it provides insight into what is going on internally. As a patient, it’s always important to stay informed and be an active participant in your health, so asking questions will always be of benefit to you. Important questions to ask before your medical imaging appointment would be to ask if any risks or side effects are involved if the testing is urgent, and if the imaging is necessary. Further questions to ask your healthcare practitioner about would be asking about lower-radiation options, how long it takes to receive results, and if their technology is current.
As a patient, it is important to ask questions about the medical care you’re receiving, it’s not only empowering but it helps you understand why and how decisions are being made. We’re here to give you the best individualized care in medical imaging, so please, if you have any questions or concerns let us know.