If you have been referred to an imaging center in San Antonio for testing, your radiologist will discuss the procedure with you and tell you how to prepare. It’s important for you to alert your radiologist to any conditions or concerns you may have that could interfere with the test. To make sure your medical imaging test is as safe and effective as possible, be sure to discuss these factors with your radiologist.
Your radiologist needs to know if you are pregnant or if you could be pregnant. Some imaging tests and some of the tracers used for imaging tests are not safe for a developing fetus. If you are pregnant, X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine tests may not be safe. Ultrasounds and MRIs are generally considered to be acceptable during pregnancy, but your radiologist and doctor will work together to make the right decision for you.
Some medical imaging tests ask patients to stay in a certain position or enclosed area for an extended period of time. For some people, this can trigger symptoms of claustrophobia. If you are concerned about experiencing claustrophobia during your imaging test, then let your radiologist know. He or she can offer advice that could make you feel more confident about the test. Your doctor may also provide you with a sedative to make the test more comfortable.
Make your radiologist aware of any implanted devices you have, so that he or she can make the appropriate adjustment to your test. Joint replacement implants and breast implants can affect the appearance of your medical imaging test and may interfere with the ability to see certain parts of your anatomy. Some implanted devices, such as pacemakers, are not compatible with certain types of imaging tests, as the tests can disrupt the way the device works. Inform your radiologist about any implanted devices you have, even if they are not in the area of your body that is being scanned.
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.
Although medical imaging tests can be extremely useful for diagnostics, parents naturally have concerns about the impacts of imaging on their child’s health. If your child is scheduled for medical imaging in San Antonio , this information can help you make an informed decision about his or her health care needs.
The concern most parents have with medical imaging is the exposure to radiation. Radiation is used in X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine procedures. Although excessive doses of radiation can cause cancer, the amount used in medical imaging is usually minute. Radiology specialists work diligently to limit the exposure to radiation for any patient, especially children, to the absolute minimum. If your child has been referred for medical imaging, it is because his or her doctor believes that the importance of the diagnostic test far outweighs any small amount of radiation risk. Ask the team at the imaging center to explain their safety protocols, so you can feel confident about following through the diagnostic test.
The terms “radiology technologists” and “ radiologists ” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. If you visit an imaging center in San Antonio, you’ll likely meet a radiology technologist first. This person will get you ready for the exam ,adjust the equipment and perform most exams. Radiology technologists are also typically responsible for positioning patients and taking steps to minimize radiation exposure. Radiology technologists are required to complete certain educational and training requirements. They typically have an Associates degree.
Although radiology technologists perform important responsibilities within an imaging center, they cannot actually interpret or “read” the exam. This is the role of the radiologist. Radiologists are medical doctors who have completed four years of medical school after earning a college degree. They must also complete four years of radiology residency. All that education and training allows radiologists to safely and accurately interpret exams such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and nuclear medicine exams. Radiologists can alsoperform procedures such as biopsies and fluoroscopy exams like Upper GI series and barium enemas. . Since radiologists are medical doctors, they must maintain licensure in the state in which they practice.
X-rays are among the most well-known medical imaging exams. Other types of medical imaging exams use X-ray technology, such as CT scans, but standard bone X-rays most frequently come to mind when people hear this term. X-rays are often performed at hospitals, such as when a patient arrives at the ER with injuries, but some clinics lack on-site imaging capabilities and may refer their patients to an imaging center instead. A patient may also be referred to an imaging center near San Antonio for non-emergent X-rays .
X-rays can depict bones well, but not other structures.
X-rays are exceptionally accurate for depicting the details of the bone structure. However, they aren’t terribly useful for evaluating the soft tissues of the body, which include the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. This is why orthopedic specialists might request an MRI instead of a bone X-ray. An MRI allows a better examination of the various structures of the joints and spine. MRIs are also useful for detecting very tiny bone contusions that might not show up on X-rays.
Bone X-rays are helpful for more than diagnosing fractures.
Most people undergo multiple X-rays during the course of their lifetime. This technology is routinely used in dental offices, for instance, where it helps dentists find tooth decay. But in addition to its dental uses and its helpfulness in diagnosing bone fractures, X-rays are useful for other reasons. X-rays allow doctors to evaluate patients suspected of having arthritis, bone cancer, bone infections, and bone spurs. They are frequently used by orthopedic surgeons who are planning surgeries, such as spinal fusions and joint replacements.
X-rays are safe and painless.
Most medical procedures do carry certain risks, and X-rays are no exception. However, the risk associated with the radiation exposure is quite low, especially these days. That’s because state-of-the-art imaging centers use modern X-ray equipment that enables the radiologists to use the lowest possible dose of radiation for each X-ray. Furthermore, the part of the patient’s body that is not being examined is covered with a lead apron to shield against radiation. The risk is greater for women who are pregnant, which is why radiologists routinely ask female patients if they are pregnant or could be pregnant.
Anxiety is common among children who need to have medical imaging near San Antonio. In some cases, it may be appropriate to give a child a mild sedative so he or she can stay calm and still for an MRI or nuclear medicine test. However, it is certainly preferable to help kids stay calm without the use of medications. If your child has an upcoming appointment at an imaging center , start preparing him or her in advance.
Understand your child’s fears.
Before you can help your child cope, try to figure out what might be causing anxiety. For infants and young children, exam-induced anxiety may be a form of separation anxiety. School-age children may be primarily worried that the test will hurt. Body-conscious teenagers might feel slightly embarrassed, concerned about their privacy, and nervous about pain. If your child is old enough, talk to him or her about these concerns. It might be best to ask indirectly. Instead of asking, “Are you nervous?” try saying something like, “I noticed you didn’t eat much this morning. Sometimes, I get butterflies in my stomach when I get nervous, too.” Kids are sometimes more willing to share their feelings when they aren’t asked direct questions.
Demonstrate how to be a good patient.
To help your young child conquer his or her fear of the unknown, ask the radiologist if you can pretend to have an exam before your child does. Demonstrate how you lie very still on the exam table. You might even lighten the mood for your child by pretending to snore loudly.
Use distraction techniques.
A child’s imagination can be a powerful tool. Collaborate with your child’s radiology technologist to distract your child with pretend play. For instance, as your child prepares for an MRI, you might say that the inside of the scanner is like a rocket ship. Tell your child that he or she must lie very still, just like an astronaut who is getting launched into space. For older children, headphones might serve as enough of a distraction.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scanners are based on incredibly complex technology. Before you head over to the radiology center near San Antonio for your PET brain scan , take a few minutes to watch this featured video. It explains that the nuclear medicine technologist will inject a specially prepared, radioactive tracer material into your bloodstream before the test. Then, your exam table will slide into the PET scanner.
This video explains that the radioactive atoms inside the tracer give off positrons, which are subatomic particles. When a positron strikes an electron, the particles destroy each other and release energy as gamma rays that travel in opposite directions out of the patient. The PET scanner detects the gamma rays and calculates the exact position of the tracer. The results allow the radiologist to examine a precise, 3D image of the bodily structure.
A computed tomography (CT) scan or CAT scan is just one of the sophisticated tests you’ll find at Concord Imaging in San Antonio. If you have safety concerns about radiology exams, please feel free to discuss these with your doctor or the radiology professional. During your CT scan, you’ll be exposed to low levels of radiation, as the CT scanner uses X-ray technology to create medical images. There is a risk of cancer caused by radiation and CT scans expose patients to higher levels of radiation compared to the typical dose of a chest X-ray. However, medical experts tend to agree that the risk of cancer caused by radiation is generally smaller than a person’s natural risk of cancer.
Some patients undergoing CT scans are asked to receive a contrast agent prior to the exam. The contrast agent helps to improve the clarity of the medical images. Rarely, some people may experience allergic reactions from this substance. Your doctor might recommend a different medical imaging test if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, due to the risk of radiation to the child.
Mammograms can be lifesaving for women, but if you are not sure what to expect, they can also be scary. In this video from Concord Imaging Center near San Antonio , you can learn exactly what to expect when you get a mammogram so that the experience is not intimidating.
Approximately one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lives, but early diagnosis through a mammogram can make breast cancer survivable. When you arrive at the imaging center, your mammographer will ask you questions about your breast health before performing the medical imaging exam. During the mammogram, your breasts will be compressed so that a clear image of the breast tissue can be taken. The compression only lasts for seconds, and while it may be uncomfortable, most women do not find it painful. Remember that your mammographer is committed to making the experience as easy for you as possible, so speak up if you have questions or are anxious about the procedure.
When your doctor refers you for medical imaging tests, you may be hesitant to have the procedure because of the expense. Even with your insurance coverage, co-pays and deductibles can make medical imaging a prohibitively expensive process. Fortunately, help is available from Concord Imaging. At our imaging center in San Antonio, we offer CT scans and other imaging tests at a lower cost than other providers. Here is what you need to know.
At Concord Imaging, we don’t think that price tags should interfere with people’s health. That is why we are proud to offer CT scans at our imaging center at a cost that is lower than that of most hospitals and other medical facilities. In addition to your affordable costs, we offer same-day scheduling, courteous staff support, and the highest-possible quality imaging procedures. When you are referred for medical imaging, from CT scans to MRIs, choose Concord Imaging, so you can get the healthcare you need without the cost compromising your care.
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