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How to Prepare for Your Imaging Test

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How to Prepare for Your Imaging test


ollowing are some general guidelines for preparing for your imaging procedure. If you have questions, please call the imaging site where you have an appointment. Check with your physician as to whether you should stop any medications.

Please note: Due to radiologist preferences, preparations may vary by exam location. Please ask the scheduler for any specific instructions at the time that you make your appointment.

CT Scan - Abdomen or Pelvis

Preparation may be required. Please check with the facility where you are having your test for any specific instructions.

MRI Scan

Please inform us of any metal in your body at time of scheduling. Remove any metal, jewelry, or hairpins prior to the scan. For safety reasons, you will be required to change your clothes into a hospital gown. You will be given earplugs to wear during the exam. Further preparation information will be given when your appointment is scheduled.

Nuclear Medicine

Specific preparation information will be given when your appointment is scheduled. Study times vary in length.

Generally, you should have nothing by mouth for five hours before your appointment. Please allow three hours for the procedure.

Ultrasound – Gallbladder or Abdominal

Generally, you should have nothing by mouth for six hours before your appointment. This includes chewing gum and smoking cigarettes.

Ultrasound – Pelvis

In some cases, you may be asked to drink fluids to fill your bladder. This should be completed one hour before the procedure. Do not empty your bladder until the procedure is complete.

Ultrasound – Obstetric

No special preparation is necessary.


Do not use any powders, talcs, sprays, or deodorants on breast and underarm area. Please try to obtain your previous mammogram films and reports. Bring them with you at the time of your appointment.

DXA (Bone Density Scan)

Do not take calcium supplements 24 hours before the scan. If you have had any x-rays using contrast such as barium, IV contrast, or any nuclear medicine studies, please wait one week before having a DXA scan. If you have any of those tests scheduled for the same day as your DXA scan, the DXA must be performed first. If possible, wear two-piece comfortable outfit without metal zippers, buttons or belts.

G.I. and/or Small Bowel Series

Do not eat or drink anything after 10 p.m. the evening before the examination. This includes chewing gum.

Barium Enema or Air Contrast Enema

Specific preparation information will be given to you when your appointment is scheduled. Study times vary in length. For children under 12, procedures using contrast, or for those with a colostomy, please call for specific preparation.

Other General Information

  • For your safety, children may not accompany patients into procedures. If it is necessary to bring children to the appointment, please bring appropriate adult supervision to watch your child while you have your procedure.
  • Could you be pregnant? Tell the staff, even if there’s only a possibility. Most imaging procedures are not performed on pregnant women.
  • If you are an asthmatic, please bring your inhaler.
  • Bring a list of your medications with you.
  • To better assist you, inform the scheduler of any special needs you may have.
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