There are a few different types of medical imaging tests, from CT scans to MRIs, but the basic steps for the procedure are generally the same from start to finish. If you’ve booked an appointment with a medical imaging clinic, here are the phases you can expect to take place.
- Exam Preparation – This step is intended to prep the patient prior to the actual exam. It may require a number of additional steps before the actual exam, depending on the exact test you’re undergoing, and what part of your body is being examined. For example, you might be asked to ingest certain liquids to help highlight specific areas during the imaging test. You may be asked to bring in prior scans and to avoid eating and drinking anything beyond water ahead of the scans.
- Your Actual Image Exam – During just about every kind of advanced medical imaging, you’ll be encouraged to follow these basic guidelines:
- Remain calm and relaxed
- Remain as still as possible, unless you are instructed to move
- Pay close attention to the instructions given throughout the exam
- Ask questions if you’re not certain about what you are asked to do
Generally speaking, the quality of the images from the exam will be partly dependent on how closely the instructions were followed, and how still you remained during the exam. If you are feeling anxious, make sure you express these concerns to the radiologist who is performing the exam. They’re there to address your concerns and want to get the best images possible.
- Consultation and Release – After the imaging exam is done, you’ll have to wait for a short period of time while the radiologist determines if the images are clear and sharp enough, and if the image orientation is correct. Sometimes the staff might have to repeat the exam. There is usually no downtime involved after these exams; however, if you’ve been given a sedative, you may require someone else to drive you home. The radiologist and technologist will then consult about your test results.
- Your Diagnosis – After the radiologist performs a study of your images, a dictated report is made available to your physician. Based on the interpretation and results of the imaging, your doctor will then provide you with a diagnosis and any needed treatment.