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Clinical Programs > Diagnostic Imaging > Frequently Asked Questions

Angiography Bone Density CT Scan MRI Nuclear Medicine Ultrasound X-Ray

The following are commonly asked questions about tests in the Diagnostic Imaging department. For information related to a specific exam, please consult the information page for your specific test.

Click on a question to read the answer or scroll down the page to read all the questions and answers.

1. What do I do with personal belongings during the exam?
2. Will I have to remove my clothes for the exam?
3. Can a family member or friend stay with me in the examination room?
4. Who will perform the exam?
5. How long will my exam take?
6. Can I see the images from my exam?
7. What are a contrast medium and a tracer?
8. Who can I talk to if I have safety concerns or questions about the exam?
9. Should I have an exam if I am pregnant?
10. Can I breastfeed after an injection of contrast medium or tracer?
11. When will I find out the results of the exam?
12. Where can I find general information on diagnostic imaging?

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1. What do I do with personal belongings during the exam?

You will keep personal belongings with you and bring them into the procedure room. For an MRI exam, small personal belongings will be stored in a locked locker. We recommend you leave your valuables at home.

 

2. Will I have to remove my clothes for the exam?

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown, pajamas or a robe depending on the type of exam. This is done to make it easier to complete the exam and because metal items like buttons, jewellery, and zippers can show up on certain images.

 

3. Can a family member or friend stay with me in the examination room?

Generally, for safety reasons, others cannot be in the room during your exam.

For a MRI exam, we will allow another person in the scan room only if he or she passes the MRI safety screening criteria (see the MRI information page for more details).

For an ultrasound exam, your family will be asked to wait in the waiting room. If time allows, your family may be called in at the end of the exam. This includes expecting fathers during an obstetrics ultrasound. If your child is having an ultrasound, you will be allowed in the room for the exam.

 

4. Who will perform my exam?

Depending on the type of procedure, a radiologist, a technologist or a sonographer will perform the exam. They are accredited and fully trained to provide you with the best possible care and diagnostic image.

As St. Boniface General Hospital is a teaching hospital, you may be asked if students may attend your exam. You may refuse to have a student present for your exam.

 

5. How long will my exam take?

The time needed for each exam will vary:

  • Angiogram: approximately 60 minutes
  • Bone Density: 15 to 20 minutes
  • CT Scan: 15 to 90 minutes
  • MRI: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Mammogram: approximately 20 minutes
  • Nuclear Medicine: 20 to 90 minutes (sometimes on multiple days)
  • Ultrasound: 30 to 60 minutes
  • X-ray: 5 to 30 minutes (some tests take up to several hours with x-rays taken at 20 minute intervals)

For more information, please consult the information page for your specific test.

 

6. Can I see the images from my exam?

No. In order to meet our appointment schedule, you will not be able to see images from your CT scan. Also, technologists are restricted from discussing images with you. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.

 

7. What are a contrast medium and a tracer?

A contrast medium is a “dye” used to show tissues or structures that would not normally show on an image. Contrast mediums are used for x-rays, CT scans, angiograms and MRIs. Depending on the type of test, you may have to drink a contrast medium, have it inserted through as an enema or receive it as an injection into a vein (IV).

X-ray contrast medium is used for x-rays, CT scans and angiograms and usually contains iodine or sometimes barium. For MRIs, the contrast agent used is called Gadolinium, which is a clear, colorless fluid that is injected with a small needle into a vein in your arm or hand. It produces few side effects, though you may get a metallic taste in your mouth.

A tracer is a radioactive substance that helps record information about the function and structure of the major organs in your body. During the exam, you may eat, inhale or be injected with a small amount of tracer. It is quite safe; however, as with all medications, there is a slight risk of an allergic reaction. If you are allergic to x-ray contrast, you may not be allergic to the tracer. People react to the iodine contained in the x-ray contrast and there is no iodine in this material.

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to contrast medium or tracer.

 

8. Who can I talk to if I have safety concerns or questions about the exam?

The technologist, radiologist or nurse can answer your questions on the day of your test. Questions about problems and treatment are best answered by your own doctor.

 

9. Should I have an exam if I am pregnant ?

If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, tell your doctor before having any examination. Depending on the test, your doctor may consider waiting to have the examination or to use another imaging test, where possible.

 

10. Can I breastfeed after an injection of contrast medium?

If you are injected with a contrast material, you should wait at least 48 hours before breastfeeding your child. You may want to pump breast milk before the procedure and use it during this waiting period.

 

11. When will I find out the results of the exam?

The results will be sent to your doctor, who will then contact you to discuss them. Timelines vary per test:

  • Angiogram: 3 to 5 business days
  • Bone Density: 5 to 7 business days
  • CT Scan: 3 to 5 business days
  • MRI: within 10 business days
  • Mammogram: 3 to 5 days business
  • Nuclear Medicine: 3 to 5 days business
  • Ultrasound: 7 to 10 business days
  • X-ray: 5 to 7 business days

 

12. Where can I find general information on diagnostic imaging?

For general information on diagnostic imaging procedures and tests, please consult our links page.

Please note: These sites are not managed by St. Boniface Hospital. St. Boniface does not assume any responsibility for their content.

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