Preparing For Your Test

Depending on the imaging test that’s being performed, preparation will vary. The following are some general guidelines to prepare for imaging procedures. Please check with your physician or physician’s office to see what specific preparation is needed for your test.

CT scan
You may need to remove any metal objects, like jewelry, eyeglasses, or dentures, which could interfere with the clarity of your CT scan. Depending on the part of the body that is being tested, a special dye called contrast material may be necessary to help highlight the blood vessels and internal structures of the body. You may receive contrast material by mouth (for esophagus or stomach imaging), by injection (for gallbladder, urinary tract, or liver imaging), or by enema (for intestinal imaging). It can take up to an hour for contrast material to distribute throughout the body before your imaging test can begin.

Because an MRI uses powerful magnets, the presence of metal on or in your body may be a safety concern and can affect clarity of the images. You’ll need to remove any metal objects, like jewelry, eyeglasses, or dentures, and let the technologist know if you have any metal or electronic devices in your body, such as a pacemaker, cochlear implants, or a defibrillator. Even some cosmetics contain small amounts of metal, so it is best to not wear makeup. Notify your physician prior to the MRI if you are pregnant or think that you could be pregnant.

Schedule your mammogram the week after your menstrual period (if you have not experienced menopause), so that your breast are less likely to be tender. If you’ve had a mammogram before, please bring any previous mammogram records to your exam. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams, or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts because metallic particles in these products could interfere with the clarity of your breast imaging. If mammograms cause any discomfort for you, consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, about an hour before the exam.

PET-CT scan
Patients must not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to the exam and avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates the day before and the day of the scan. Avoid wearing anything metal, like a belt or jewelry. Avoid physical activity or anything strenuous before the exam. Depending on your individual health condition, preparation for a PET-CT fusion may vary, especially if you are diabetic or have a heart condition. Please discuss preparations with your healthcare provider.

Some ultrasounds require no preparation, but others, like right upper quadrant, liver, or gallbladder, require nothing by mouth for up to eight hours before your appointment, including gum and cigarettes. If you are not properly fasted when you arrive for your exam, we will reschedule your appointment, so we can provide the best possible imaging results. Other ultrasounds, like pelvic or vaginal, require a full or empty bladder to properly visualize the uterus and ovaries. Ask your doctor about any specific instructions you’ll need to follow before your ultrasound.

More information

  • If you think you could be pregnant, even if there’s only a possibility, tell the imaging staff before your exam.
  • For safety reasons, children may not accompany patients into imaging procedures.
  • Bring a list of your current medications and any medication allergies to your appointment.
  • If you have any special needs or think that you may experience discomfort during an imaging test, let us know ahead of time, so that we can make arrangements to accommodate you.