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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a prescription...
...or a doctor's order for a scan? Each state has different laws regarding this issue. In some states it is mandatory for a doctor to issue a prescription and in other states you will not need one. For more information, the Scanning Center will inform you of whether a prescription is needed or not. For example in California, no prescription is required to get a scan.
What if i get claustrophobic...
...inside a scanner? EBT and CT scanners are large, round disks with a hole in the center like a donut. While lying flat on a table, you will travel through the hole and once you go through the hole it is open on the other side, so the machine doesn’t feel confining. MRI scanners can be closed, but for individuals who are uncomfortable in small spaces there are open MRI machines available, though the image quality is sometimes not as sharp with these machines. Oral sedatives can also be taken to help alleviate anxiety.
Is there any preparation or...
...contrast needed for the body scan? No, not for most scans. However, many scan centers will request that you remove any metallic jewelry, under-wire bras, or shirts with metal snaps before undergoing your scan. Occasionally, MRI scans are performed after a patient is injected with a contrast dye, so talk to your doctor about whether they type of scan you need requires contrast.
How long does it take to get...
...the results from a body scan? Images from your scan will be available just minutes after the scan is complete. At some scanning facilities you will sit down with a physician immediately following your scan to review your results. Often, you will also receive detailed results reviewed by a qualified radiologist in the mail. Other scanning facilities will mail you your scan results without a personalized consultation, or they may have a radiologist on staff who can evaluate your results immediately. It all depends on which scanning center you choose. All scanning centers will make your results available to your primary care physician.
Does the doctor give...
...recommendations on what to do next? If you receive a scan at a scanning facility that provides a consultation, a physician may give recommendations. The physician may answer questions that you may have regarding the scan. The doctor may also combine the knowledge of your scan results with the medical history information you have shared to provide you with the necessary steps that should be taken following your scan. However, if you do not receive a consultation immediately after your scan you can always discuss your results with your primary care physician at a later time.
How long are the procedures?
    All of the following are approximations, and depend on the particular types of scans you receive:
  • Heart Scan approximately 5-10 minutes
  • Body Scan approximately 15-30 minutes
  • Virtual Colonoscopy approximately 10-20 minutes
Who should have a virtual...
...colonoscopy? The virtual colonoscopy may be an appropriate test to be administered every three- to five-years for those over the age of 50 who are at an average risk of developing polyps or colon cancer. Patients with a strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps may need to be screened more often. Individuals should consult their physician for personalized recommendations.
Does the scan detect cancer?
The body scan may detect visual abnormalities such as nodules, masses, cysts or tumors in the lungs as small as a grain of rice, and in the abdomen as small as an eraser head, or larger. If the scan detects an abnormality, it is up to you and your personal physician to decide if you should have any further testing to see whether or not the abnormality is cancerous. The report you will receive will aid in that decision. Early detection of cancer may improve your chances of survival.

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Is a Body Scan painful...
...or uncomfortable? The body scans are painless and comfortable. You may be asked to hold your breath a few times. EBT and CT scanners have an open top and are not claustrophobic.
What areas of the body are...
...covered in a Body Scan? The body scan analyzes areas from the collar bone to the pelvis and covers the heart, lungs, abdomen, and the spine. The specific areas covered in the abdomen are the kidneys, liver, gall bladder, abdominal aorta, adrenal glands, lymph nodes, spleen and specific regions in the pelvis. For more information, see our Body Scan FAQ and Why get a Body Scan?
What kind of scans are available?
What is the difference...
...between the Conventional Colonoscopy and the Virtual Colonoscopy? Prior to both procedures, bowel preparation is necessary with a liquid diet/prep kit to cleanse the colon. A traditional colonoscopy involves being sedated and a 5-foot-long camera scope is inserted into the anus. The scope is then moved throughout the entire length of the colon to look for polyps.

The virtual colonoscopy may be more comfortable, convenient and safer than the traditional method. It's safer because there is no sedation involved. After preparation, the individual is put on the scanning table. A small barium tip is inserted in to the anus to gently inflate the colon with air in order to properly obtain images. After the scan, most patients can return to their daily activities immediately. A follow-up appointment may be necessary depending on the findings.
What is QCT Bone Density Screening?
QCT Bone Density Screening can detect osteoporosis—a silent disease characterized by low bone mass and the progressive deterioration of bone tissue. Fractures often occur in the spine, wrists, and hips of individuals suffering from osteoporosis. Early diagnosis of osteoporosis can lead to intervention and treatment to stop progressive bone loss.
Is radiation exposure a problem
in body scans? Body scans seek to provide safe and accurate 3-D images of the patients’ body in a non-invasive way. Most scans involve a small amount of radiation exposure, but the benefits of early diagnosis of a multitude of diseases must be weighed against the potential risks of exposure. Different types of scanning procedures involve varying levels of radiation, so if this is a concern for you discuss your options with your doctor before scheduling your scan.
Will insurance pay for my scan?
This depends on your individualized insurance plan and scanning procedure. Most insurance providers will not cover scans that are performed for screening purposes for otherwise healthy adults. However, if you have a pre-existing condition the cost of your scan may be covered fully or in-part by your insurance. Consult your insurance provider to learn more about your coverage regarding scanning procedures.
What are the benefits of body scan imaging?
There are many reasons why a body scan may be beneficial to you, whether performed for diagnostic or treatment-related reasons. A body scan:
  • Allows doctors information that can help in diagnosing a disease, often before physical changes or any symptoms arise
  • Gives an accurate look at what is happening internally, helping doctors plan the best course of action in the treatment of disease, surgical procedures, or biopsy
  • Provides an evaluation of treatment efficacy
  • Is able to detect relapse or recurrence of disease
  • Provides an alternative to invasive diagnostic procedures
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