Radiology appointments can sometimes be overwhelming. Most people go years without needing one. Even if you’ve had a radiology appointment in the past, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions. There have been changes to the field in recent years, and you want to know what to expect from your experience.

1. What Certifications Do You Have?

It’s always a good idea to know who you’re dealing with. If the imaging center is affiliated with the American College of Radiology (ACR), that’s a great sign. The ACR develops standards for imaging procedures such as MRIs and CTs, provides continuing education, and represents radiologists’ in order to improve patient care.

There are also subspecialties in radiology. It’s important to have a specialist interpret imaging studies. At The Radiology Clinic, for example, subspecialists on staff include those trained in Neuroradiology and Musculoskeletal Radiology. A subspecialist can provide your doctor with expert analysis of your images.

2. What Type Of Imaging Technology Do You Use?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with older imaging technology. Traditional x-rays and MRIs opened unprecedented windows into the body, giving doctors access to more knowledge than they ever had before. But remember, if they didn’t have advantages, the newer technologies would never have taken off. For example, a digital x-ray produces more accurate images than traditional films with an overall lower radiation dose.

Our imaging center utilizes the latest imaging technology, including 3T MRI technology. The “T” stands for Tesla units, which measure the strength of the MRI’s magnetic field. Until recently, most MRI machines were using 1.5T technology or lower. 3T is a huge improvement. It takes less time and is much more convenient for patients. Resolution is also significantly better. That means doctors can interpret your results more accurately and with less risk of missing significant findings.

3. How Should I Prepare?

Lastly, it’s a good idea to do some preparation for your radiology appointment. Preparing is important for your safety and to ensure that the resulting images are clear and can be properly interpreted. Preparation can mean very different things for different patients. A lot of it depends on the type of appointment you’ve made.

For a simple abdominal ultrasound, the restriction may be no food or drink for several hours in advance. For an OB ultrasound, expectant moms are asked to drink water an hour beforehand. For an MRI, the team will need to know if you have any metal implants in your body. Pacemaker components and cochlear implants are included in this restriction. Other than that, guidelines are to wear loose-fitting clothing. Sometimes an injection of contrast dye is also required.  Please refer to our website for radiology preparation instructions.  You will also be told the preparations at the time of your appointment when you call to schedule with one of our friendly patient service representatives.

By asking questions, you can feel confident that you’ll get the best possible care at your radiology appointment.  One last note:  You will want to work with an imaging center and its staff who have the professionalism and communication skills to give you and your doctor the results in an accurate and timely manner.  We at The Radiology Clinic strive to make your imaging experience a positive one with superior patient service, quality imaging, and fellowship-trained board-certified radiologists.