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.
When it’s time to make an appointment at an imaging center for a mammogram, consider asking whether you would benefit from 3D mammography. Radiologists in San Antonio strongly recommend 3D mammograms because they offer significant advantages over traditional mammograms . These advantages can help save lives.
When you watch this featured video, you’ll meet Lori, who went to an imaging center for a routine mammogram and got a call back. She had an MRI and ultrasound, which were both inconclusive. Then, she got a 3D mammogram and the radiologist was able to detect the tumor. Her doctor explains that 3D mammograms increase cancer detection rates dramatically, plus, they result in fewer call backs because of false positives. Lori, who is now in remission, credits the technology with saving her life.
For individuals diagnosed with cancer, visiting their imaging center in San Antonio for radiology tests like MRIs and ultrasounds can play an important role in their ongoing treatment and determining the cancer’s stage. Read on to learn the answers to common questions about cancer staging.
What is a cancer stage?
The stage of your cancer refers to the extent of its growth in your body, such as whether it has spread and the tumor’s size. A person’s cancer will always be referred to by the stage that it was at the time of diagnosis, even if it spreads or worsens. Although information regarding your cancer may change over time, its stage will not.
Why do physicians use cancer staging?
Knowing the stage of your cancer benefits your doctor in several ways. First, it can help her determine the best course of treatment for your situation. Also, knowing the stage of your cancer can alert your physician to how serious your condition is and help her estimate your chances of survival.
How is someone’s cancer stage determined?
If you have symptoms that suggest you might have cancer or received screening results indicating that you may have this condition, then your doctor will order any of several types of tests, such as X-rays, blood work, or MRIs. These tests can diagnose your cancer and allow your physician to determine its stage.
What is the cancer staging system?
There are quite a few staging systems used by doctors. Some of these systems are used for a broad range of cancers, and others are employed only for specific types of the disease.
What is the TNM cancer staging system?
The TNM system is the most widely used cancer staging system. The T in this system refers to the extent of the patient’s main tumor, which is commonly called the primary tumor. The N describes the number of lymph nodes near the primary tumor that have cancer. Finally, the M refers to whether the cancer has metastasized and to what extent.
Has your physician advised you to visit an imaging center for a mammogram in San Antonio ? If so, then you may have questions about this type of radiology testing. Watch this video to learn a bit about protecting your health with mammograms.
When to comes to detecting breast cancer, a person’s health history, family health history, and body type can be critical factors in determining at what age she should begin getting mammograms and how frequently. Mammograms can be very effective at diagnosing breast cancer, and it’s critical for women to speak with their health care providers and learn what is best for them at ages 30, 40, 50, and 60.
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.
MRI scans are not painful, but many patients still dread the thought of them. Because MRIs generally involve lying completely still on a table that slides into an imaging machine, patients can be overwhelmed by fears of claustrophobia. Fortunately, there are many steps anxious patients to calm their nerves when they are scheduled for an MRI scan in San Antonio . Follow this advice to make your MRI, or any medical imaging test, as comfortable as possible.
Tell the MRI Team
If you are nervous about your MRI, be sure the medical imaging team is aware of your fears. They can answer any questions you have and go slowly to be sure you are as comfortable as possible during each step of the scan. Any time you have a concern during the MRI, use the intercom to communicate with the technologist. Many people find that simply hearing someone’s voice and feeling that connection to someone outside of the machine makes them feel calm. Keep in mind that your technologist is there for your comfort and peace of mind. He or she will reposition you if you are uncomfortable, and if you simply can’t complete the test, the technician will gladly help you out of the machine.
Distraction can be a powerful tool when you’re fearful about your MRI. Many MRI operators offer headphones so you can listen to music during the test. Take advantage of the headphones to block the sound of the machine and to take your mind off the small space. Try to close your eyes and concentrate on the songs instead of the test to get your mind off your fear.
Be Kind to Yourself
Many people are fearful of MRI tests, so if you are feeling anxious, you’re not alone. Don’t compound your stress by trying to ignore your feelings or berating yourself for your anxieties. Ask for as much help you as you need and go as slowly as you need to avoid introducing unnecessary stress for yourself into the process.
If you have a medical condition that requires you to undergo repeated doctor’s visits and medical imaging in San Antonio , your medical bills may quickly become very high. Luckily, you are afforded certain rights as a patient that allow you to make financially conservative decisions about any healthcare services you need that aren’t covered by your insurance company. Here are some easy ways that you can manage your medical costs.
Be Proactive in Researching Medical Procedures and Costs
As a patient, you have many resources available to you that allow you to research the cost of any medical procedure that your doctor recommends. For instance, private medical imaging facilities offer low-cost PET scans and CT scans that are often significantly cheaper than those offered by a hospital, yet are the same, if not better, in quality.
Investigate All of Your Health Insurance Options
If you have a chronic or long-term medical condition, you should consider using more than one type of insurance to cover your medical costs. You can purchase supplementary insurance or co-insurance to help you cover the costs of prescriptions, medical imaging procedures, and doctor’s visits. If you are employed, find out if your employer offers a health savings account or flexible spending account; both of these allow you to deposit pre-tax income to pay for medical expenses. If you don’t have insurance or are not employed, find out if you are eligible for Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act.
Don’t Be Afraid to Question the Purpose of Medical Procedures
The medical procedures that your doctor recommends should have a significant medical purpose, and be absolutely necessary to aid him in diagnosing or treating your medical condition. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes refer patients for procedures that may have a cheaper and equal medical alternative, or aren’t completely necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to explain the medical necessity of any medical procedure that he recommends.
While you probably have a health insurance policy that covers the cost of medical imaging in San Antonio , you may need to meet your deductible before your insurance company covers your medical costs. Depending upon the amount of your deductible, this may seem daunting. If your deductible is $2,000, for instance, you’ll have to pay the first $2,000 of your medical bills out of pocket.
Because you’ll be paying money from your own pocket regardless, you should try to find the most technologically advanced medical imaging center that offers comprehensive medical images and diagnostic testing at the lowest patient cost possible. You can get the same advanced technology and exceptional service offered at a hospital in a convenient outpatient setting, and you’ll likely be paying far less money.
It’s also to your benefit to find a medical imaging center that has the best negotiated medical rates with your insurance company. One private medical imaging center may have negotiated a rate with your insurance company of $500 for an MRI, while another may offer the same (or lesser) quality diagnostic scan for $1,000 or more. Typically, large hospital-affiliated centers are much more expensive. You are the one paying for the imaging tests, so you should decide where you have them performed.
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