If you are referred to an imaging center in San Antonio , then you may need contrast materials for your test. Contrast material—sometimes referred to as contrast agents—is used during some X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds. Here are the answers to some of the questions patients frequently have about contrast materials.
How do contrast materials work?
Contrast materials change the way tissue or other structures in the body appear during an imaging test, so that they are easier for the radiologist to view. The way the contrast interacts with the subject of the imaging test helps to highlight abnormalities so that your doctor can diagnose a medical condition or can track the effectiveness of treatment you are already receiving. Contrast materials can be taken orally, intravenously, or rectally. The test you are having will determine the way the contrast is administered.
Do contrast materials cause side effects?
For most people, contrast materials are safe and cause few side effects. In some cases, patients have an allergy to a substance used in the contrast and may experience a reaction. At the imaging center, you will be asked questions about your allergies to try to avoid this kind of interaction. Some patients experience minor nausea after using contrast materials, but any side effects are typically short-lived and mild.
How should I prepare for taking contrast material?
The kind of preparation that is necessary for your imaging test and contrast material depends on the test you are having. In some instances, no preparation is necessary at all. In other instances, you may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for a certain period of time, or, in the case of contrast material that is used rectally, to perform an enema before your test. Your doctor or the staff at the imaging center will give you specific preparation instructions before your test. Be sure to follow them closely to avoid the need to reschedule your test.