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Frequently Asked Radiology Questions - We Have the Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have many questions about your radiology and medical imaging procedure at Emory Decatur Hospital. We hope these answers to frequently asked questions help you as you plan your visit.

How long will my test take?

The length of your procedure depends on the type of procedure you are having. Most diagnostic imaging procedures take from five to 15 minutes. For example, fluoroscopy procedures such as upper GI, barium swallow and HSG exams can take 10 to 15 minutes. Barium enema, barium enema with air, arthrograms, sialograms and IVPs can take 30 to 45 minutes. Small bowel procedures can last several hours. An entire MRI exam usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes, but occasionally longer, depending on the type of exam your doctor has ordered. CT Scans range from 10 to 20 minutes, US Exams procedures take 30 minutes, PET Exams takes 2 hours, and NM are all test dependent.

Can my family come into the room with me during my procedure?

Because radiation is used to obtain your images, your family member is not allowed to come into the room with you during your procedure. They may wait directly outside the procedure room until your exam is complete.

Why do I need to change into a gown to have my procedure?

In some cases, an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry may show up and block a portion of the X-ray image. Metal objects in clothing and some fabric may show up on the X-ray. We ask you to change into a gown to be sure this doesn’t happen. Because some imaging devices like the MRI use a large magnet, no metallic objects or mechanical devices are allowed in the imaging room. You may want to keep this in mind when deciding what to wear to your imaging appointment.

Is the procedure painful?

Most imaging procedures are not painful, although they can be uncomfortable. However, this can vary depending on the specific procedure you are having, your tolerance for pain and your physical condition when you have your procedure. Some imaging procedures may require you receiving an injection of contrast material through an IV during your procedure. This helps to improve the quality of certain images.

What if I am claustrophobic (have a fear of being closed in)?

Our team is very experienced in recognizing and intervening when there are signs of anxiety and claustrophobia. We do offer a wide-open MRI scanner and have special accommodations to support patients including education, a walk-through prior to the appointment and headphones for music. In some cases and for some procedures, a family member may accompany you during the exam. If claustrophobia is severe, we also offer sedation if ordered by your physician.

What if my physician has prescribed a sedative to take prior to my exam?

We recommend you not take any it until given the okay by the technologist performing your exam to avoid the sedative wearing off prior to your procedure. Remember if you are bringing a prescribed sedative, you will need to have someone drive you home from your appointment.

Will I be getting too much radiation?

While there has been some concern over the potential harmful side effects associated with the use of radiation, it is believed that the small risks are greatly outweighed by the information gained about your condition. We strive to use the least amount of radiation possible to obtain your X-ray.

What is barium?

Barium is a white substance that is thick and chalky in consistency. It is used to be able to see your digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine) on the X-ray.

Will I find out my results today?

In most cases you will not get your results on the same day as your procedure. However, if your results are critical, they will be relayed immediately to your physician. Most physicians with staff privileges at Emory Decatur Hospital have access to our computer imaging system and are able to view images in their office. If you have an appointment with your physician later in the day after you’ve gotten your X-ray, your physician may have the capability of viewing your images while you are in his or her office.

What are the office hours of the Diagnostic Imaging Center?

The Diagnostic Imaging Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until noon. X-Ray hours are from 7:30 a.m. until 12;30 P.M. and CT, MRI and US Exams are from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Who will get the results of my test?

Your doctor will get a faxed report of the results of your test.

Do I take the films with me?

In most cases you do not take your X-ray films with you. However, some doctors do request that you bring your films or a CD of your images with you to your appointment in their office.

What can I do after my exam?

In most cases, you may resume your regular activities. A full report will be sent to your physician, who will discuss the results of the test with you and help you understand what the report means in relation to your health.

When should I not have a radiology procedure?

This depends on the type of diagnostic imaging procedure you are having. The radiology technician will review your medical history to be sure you can have the procedure. Some of the things you need to let your physician and the radiology technologist know you have now or have experienced in the past are listed below.

  • Metal implants
  • Bullet wounds
  • Pacemaker
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies
  • Inability to lay flat on your back
  • A recent radiology procedure
  • Brain aneurysm clips
  • Certain artificial heart valves
  • Inner ear (cochlear) implants
  • Recently placed artificial joints
  • Some older types of vascular stents
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)

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