Preparing for Your Exam

Certain exams have specific preparation instructions that help us take the highest quality images for your doctor to treat you. Please follow the preparation instructions of your procedure.

Common Procedures

What to Bring

Bone Densitometry/DEXA

How to Prepare for Your DEXA scan
  • You should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 – 48 hours before your exam.
  • On the day of the exam, you may eat normally.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding clothes with zippers, belts or buttons made of metal.
  • You should bring a complete list of your current medications to your DEXA scan appointment.
  • You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam.
  • You may also be asked to remove jewelry, glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
If you have recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material, you may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a DEXA test. Be sure to let your physician know about recent barium exams so you can schedule appropriately. If there is any possibility that you are pregnant, you should always inform your physician or x-ray technologist.

CT (Computed Tomography)

How to Prepare for Your CT scan:
You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast materials.

  • You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours beforehand, especially if a contrast material will be used in your exam.
  • Please let your physician know about any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast materials.
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.

Be sure to inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions could increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect. If there is any possibility that you are pregnant, you should always inform your physician or x-ray technologist.

Fluoroscopy

How to Prepare for Your Fluoroscopy

  • If there is any chance you may be pregnant, your exam should be postponed until the start of your period or within 10 days after.
  • If you are having an esophagus, stomach or duodenum and/or small bowel fluoroscopy, do not eat or drink anything including water after midnight before your exam.
  • Certain exams can take as long as 4 hours.

Upper and Lower GI Exams (Gastrointestinal Radiography)

How to Prepare for Your Upper GI Exam

  • Please let your physician know about any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast materials.
  • If there is any possibility that you are pregnant, you should always inform your physician or x-ray technologist. Your stomach must be empty of food to ensure the best possible image quality.
  • Do not eat or drink anything including water after midnight before your exam.
  • Do not chew gum or smoke after midnight on the day of the examination.
  • You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam.
  • You may be asked to remove jewelry, glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
  • After the procedure, drink plenty of clear fluids.
How to Prepare for Your Lower GI Exam (Barium Enema)
  • Please let your physician know about any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast materials.
  • Please inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
Please have the following items on hand the day before your procedure:
  • 10 fluid ounces magnesium citrate (1.7 gram per ounce – any brand name)
  • 4 bisacodyl tablets 5 mg (any brand name laxative tablet)
  • 1 bisacodyl suppository 10 mg (any brand name)
Day before procedure
Breakfast: clear soup (any broth), strained fruit juice without pulp, flavored gelatin, soft drinks, black coffee or plain tea
Lunch: clear soup (any broth), strained fruit juice without pulp, flavored gelatin, soft drinks, black coffee or plain tea
  • 1:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
  • 2:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
  • 3:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
  • 4:00 p.m.- drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
  • 5:00 p.m.- clear soup (any broth), strained fruit juice without pulp, flavored gelatin, soft drinks, black coffee or plain tea
5:30 p.m.: drink entire bottle of magnesium citrate oral solution. This product generally produces a bowel movement in 30 minutes to 6 hours.
  • 6:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
  • 7:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
7:30 p.m.: Swallow all four (4) enclosed bisacodyl tablets with 8 ounces of water. Do not chew tablets. The tablets are to be taken two hours after drinking the magnesium citrate solution. Bisacodyl tablets generally produce a bowel movement in 6 to 12 hours.
  • 8:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
  • 9:00 p.m. - drink one (1) full 8-ounce glass of water
Do not eat after 9:00 p.m.
Day of procedure
  • At least two hours before exam, unwrap the foil wrapper from the bisacodyl suppository and discard the foil.
  • While lying on your side with thigh raised, insert the suppository into the rectum and gently push in as far as possible.
  • Retain the suppository for at least 15 minutes if possible before evacuating, even if the urge is strong. Bowel evacuation usually occurs within 15 to 60 minutes. Patients who require assistance should have a bed pan or restroom readily available.
You can take your usual prescribed oral medications with limited amounts of water.
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
If there is any possibility that you are pregnant, you should always inform your physician or x-ray technologist.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

How to Prepare for Your MRI
You will be asked to lie down on a comfortable, padded table. Our technologists will make sure you’re properly positioned and relaxed. Depending on the type of MRI you have, scans last approximately 20 to 45 minutes. All MRI machines make a knocking sound but the tests are completely painless, and you can communicate with the technologist at all times through an intercom. You can even listen to music throughout the exam.
Please review the information below to ensure your MRI goes as smoothly as possible:
  • If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to talk to your doctor before your appointment about a prescription for a mild sedative.
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with no metal buttons, zippers or grommets. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
  • Please leave jewelry and other accessories at home if possible, or remove them prior to the MRI scan. They can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit. This includes glasses, watches, and other objects like credit cards and cell phones.
  • Unless your healthcare team tells you otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take medications as usual.
As with any medical procedure, please let the technologist know if you think you may be pregnant. Typically, pregnant women should not have MRIs because the risks of this exam to the baby are unknown. In some cases, however, physicians decide that the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. Please talk to your doctor about this.

Nuclear Medicine

How to Prepare for Your Nuclear Medicine Study
You don’t typically need special preparation for a nuclear medicine exam, but if the procedure will evaluate your stomach, your doctor may advise you to skip a meal before the test.
If the procedure will assess the kidneys, you may need to drink plenty of water before the test.

PET Scan

How to Prepare for Your PET Scan
  • Do not eat or drink anything except for water at least 6 hours before your exam.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with no metal for your scan.
  • You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
  • You may take your medicines with water.
  • You can drink water before your exam.
  • Refrain from strenuous activity 48 hours before the test.
If there is any possibility that you are pregnant, you should always inform your physician or x-ray technologist.

Ultrasound

How to Prepare for Your Ultrasound
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam.
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
  • Tell your doctor if you have had a barium enema or a series of upper GI (gastrointestinal) tests within the past two days. Barium that remains in the intestines can interfere with the ultrasound test.

X-ray

Typically no special preparations are needed for x-rays.