Radiology Procedures - What You Should Know
Prepare for your visit
Certain radiology procedures require advance preparation. The information below is provided by radiology nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) to help you prepare and know what to expect at your radiology appointment.
You can also click on the Radiology Services tab above the banner and select your procedure for more information.
Please use this information as a guide, and confirm the preparation for your exam with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to inform you of any specific requirements for your procedure, and answer any questions.
Fax your doctor's prescription to:
Radiology Department, 914.666.1341
Women's Imaging Center, 914.242.8136
Click on your scan from the list below to see preparation guidance
- For CT procedures with IV or Oral Contrast: Nothing by mouth 4 hours prior to procedure.
- For CT Biopsy and RFA Procedure: Nothing by mouth after midnight.
Call 914.666.1538 to schedule your MRI appointment.
You may want to avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages prior to scanning so you are able to lie comfortably still for several minutes at a time.
For Abdomen/MRCP Procedures: Nothing by mouth 4-6 hours prior to procedure.
For MRA, MRI, and MRV Procedures: No preparation is required, however if you are breast feeding, stop 48 hours prior to procedure. Expressing milk is encouraged.
What to ExpectYou will lie down on a cushioned table. Once you have been comfortably positioned for scanning, the table will move into the center of the magnet. The radiology technologist moves to the other side of the wall adjacent to the magnet room, but you will be in constant contact with him or her via headphones during the entire exam.
When the MRI scan begins, you will hear a thumping sound, which will last for several minutes. Try to relax, 'zone out'. Other than sound, you should experience no other sensation during scanning. Be sure to lie as still as possible to ensure the clearest radiological images. When scanning is complete, the technologist will return to help you off of the table.
Please feel free to bring your favorite music (iPod, MP3, CD, or cassette) during the exam.
For Your Personal SafetyIf you have an implanted device card, please be sure to bring the card with you to your radiology procedure. The MRI technologist will need to see it.
Please inform your doctor or the technologist at the time of your exam if you have:
- a pacemaker
- a metal plate, pin, or other metallic implant
- aneurysm clips
- an artificial heart valve
- an intrauterine device (IUD)
- ever been a metal worker
- ever been wounded during military service
- are pregnant or nursing
Help Us Get a Good Picture
You may want to avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages prior to scanning so you are able to lie quietly for several minutes at a time.
Metallic objects often give a bright or blank spot in the picture. Some cosmetic products contain metallic substances. To help your radiologist make the best diagnosis, and to avoid wasting your time, please do not wear:
- hairpins or barrettes
- a hearing aid
- any removable dental work
Call 914.666.1538 to schedule your Breast MRI appointment.
Bring the following with you on the day of your radiology procedure:
- A prescription from your referring physician is required for testing.
- If any prior breast scans (mammograms, breast ultrasound, etc.) were not performed at NWH, it is important to bring those disks with you for comparison with your new scan.
- Recent blood work (BUN and Creatinine) will be required if you are 60 or older, or if you have diabetes, renal, or kidney disease. The lab work must be drawn within 90 days of the scheduled appointment. Please have the results faxed to: 914.666.1883.
If you were given any pre-medication by your physician, please have someone drive you to and from your appointment.
What to Expect
During a breast MRI, sections of the breasts are imaged from top to bottom and from side to side. To obtain these radiology images, a specialized piece of equipment called a coil is used. You will lie face down on the coil platform, which accommodates your breasts and allows them to be imaged comfortably. An injection of contrast media called Gadolinium will be given to enhance tissues and vessels in the area in order to obtain a high quality image.
When you arrive for your appointment, you must complete an MRI screening form to ensure a safe and accurate scan. All metallic objects should be removed, before changing into your gown.
The MRI technologist will review the MRI screening form with you before taking you to the exam room. Step by step, the technologist will explain the exam to you—what you will hear, what each noise means, and how long the test will take. The technologist will also answer any questions you may have before the radiology procedure begins. In addition, you'll be instructed how to contact us during the exam by squeezing the “emergency” ball that will be placed in your hand.
The nurse will put an IV in your arm, which is used to inject the contrast material. You will lie face down on the coil and place your breasts into the openings with your arms above your head. The “emergency” ball will be placed in your hand and you will be instructed to squeeze it if you are unable to complete the exam for any reason.
The technologist will then check the position of each breast and make any adjustments, if necessary.
Music and/or earplugs will be given to you for comfort, as the MRI machine can be noisy. You will hear a series of loud knocks, clicks, and alternating noises during the exam. This is completely normal. The MRI table will then move into position and the exam will start.
First, a set of images will be collected without contrast. The technologist will then check on your progress and inform you that you will be receiving the injection of the contrast material. Immediately following the injection, scanning will resume.
Once the exam has been completed, the table will move out, earplugs or earphones will be removed, and your IV will be taken out.
The radiologist will review all of your images and create a written report of your radiology procedure results, which will be sent to the ordering physician, usually within 24 hours. If you would like a copy of the exam on CD, or would like a copy of the report to be sent to any other physicians, please let us know.
This entire process takes approximately 45 minutes.
Scheduling your MRI appointment
- If you are a menstruating women, call to schedule your appointment on the first day of your menstrual cycle.
- The study will be performed between the 7th and 10th day of your menstrual cycle.
- If you are a post-menopausal women, call to schedule your appointment at your convenience.
- For Barium Procedures: Nothing by mouth after midnight. Cleansing preparation ordered by referring physician.
- For GI and Small Bowel Procedures: Nothing by mouth after midnight.
- For Abdominal Procedures: Nothing by mouth after midnight or 8 hours prior to procedure.
- For Pelvic Procedures: Patient needs to drink completely 36 oz. of water one hour prior to procedure, and refrain from emptying bladder.
- For Pregnancy Uterus Procedures: Patients in the first and second trimester need to drink completely 36 oz. of water one hour prior to radiology procedure, and refrain from emptying bladder.
If you menstruate, it is recommended to schedule a mammogram the week immediately following your period, when breasts are usually less tender.
What to Expect
A radiology staff member will escort you to a private room where you’ll be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a gown. Personal lockers are available to secure your belongings.
- Please let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding.
- Be sure to inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. You may be asked to stop taking these medications in the days or weeks preceding your appointment.
A mammogram involves examining each breast separately. Two smooth, plastic plates are placed around the breast, flattening it to get the best possible picture of breast tissue with the smallest amount of radiation. The plates may be moved to X-ray the breast from one or more additional positions. The same radiology procedure is repeated on the other breast. The pressure of the plates may cause some minor breast discomfort.
Please follow all exam instructions covered during your telephone interview with the nurse.
For Stress / Rest Procedures, Persantine No Rest, Treadmill Only:
- No caffeine for 24 hours to procedure.
- Nothing by mouth 4 hours prior to procedure.
For Rest Cardiolite and Thallium Procedures: Nothing by mouth 4 hours prior to procedure.
For Lexiscan / No Rest: No caffeine for 12 hours prior to procedure nothing by mouth 4 hours prior to procedure.
For Thyroid Procedures:
- No thyroid medication for 6 weeks prior to procedure.
- No iodine contrast media for 4 months prior to procedure or no iodine contrast media for 4 months prior to procedure.
For Ureteral Procedure: Foley catheter insertion required.
For Hepatobiliary Procedures:
- Nothing by mouth after midnight
- No pain medication (demerol or morphine) 6 hours prior to procedure.
For Gastric Mucosa and Meckels Procedures: Patient should have a clear fluid breakfast.
For Gastro Reflux Procedures: Nothing by mouth for 4 hours prior to procedure.
For Gastric Emptying Procedures:
- Nothing by mouth after midnight.
- Notify radiology technician if you have an egg allergy.
For Vitamin B12 Procedures (Schilling): Nothing by mouth after midnight.
For Renal Scan with Lasix:
- No diuretics for 24 hours prior to procedure.
- Patient should be hydrated.
For Renal Scan with Lisinopril:
- No blood pressure medication for 24 hours prior to procedure.
- Patient should be hydrated.
For MIBG Study:
- Avoid antidepressants for 6 weeks prior to procedure.
- Avoid anti-hypertensives for 2 weeks prior to procedure.
- Avoid sympathetic-amines for 2 weeks prior to procedure.
- Avoid cocaine for 2 weeks prior to procedure.
If you still have questions regarding preparation for any of our radiology procedures, please visit our Location and Hours page to locate the number for your specific procedure.