Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on Body Scans, Heart Scans, Lung Scans, Virtual Colonoscopy

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:

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 scanmay 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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