An x-ray takes pictures of the bones in your body. Each picture takes a couple of seconds. The x-ray tech will start by positioning the part of your body that needs to be x-rayed. You will have a lead apron on the part of your body that does not need an x-ray. The tech will take a picture, so it is very important to stay still so the picture is not blurry.
The MRI machine uses a very powerful magnet to take detailed picture of the inside of your body. You must remove all metal because of the magnet in the machine. There is a locker for your items. The MRI machine makes a sound that sounds like a bird chirping and also a loud knocking sound. To have an MRI, you lie down on the bed and the bed moves into a small tunnel. It takes about 30-60 minutes, and it is very important to be still. The MRI Tech can see you through a control window, and can hear you. You can have ear plugs. With very little children, general anesthesia will be used so that they can remain still for the test.
CT (Computed Tomography)
A CT scanner is an X-ray camera that takes very fast pictures of a single part of the body that can be looked at one by one, or added together to make a 3-dimensional picture. These pictures give information to show the doctor how to best help you. The bed you lay on can rise up or down, and move slowly in and out of the machine. It has a seat belt to keep you safe. The CT Technologist controls the machine from a control room.
You may need to have contrast agent (a fluid that you drink or get through an IV). Once inside your body, it looks very bright in pictures and can make it easier for the doctors to see what they are looking at. Not everybody gets contrast, it depends on the type of scan you'll be having, so ask your doctor.
*If you are having contrast, you will have to stop eating and drinking about 4 hours before the test.
Nuclear medicine procedures use small amounts of radioactive materials, called radiopharmaceuticals, to make images of anatomy. They are injected, swallowed or inhaled into the patient's body. As the radiopharmaceutical travels through the body, it produces radioactive emissions. A special type of camera detects these emissions in the organ, bone or tissue being imaged and then records the information on a computer screen or on film. For most nuclear medicine examinations, the patient is positioned on a scanning table underneath a camera.
Ultrasound produces sound waves that are beamed into the body causing return echoes that are recorded to "visualize" structures beneath the skin. The ability to measure different echoes reflected from a variety of tissues allows a shadow picture to be constructed. The technology is especially accurate at seeing the interface between solid and fluid filled spaces.
Bone densitometry is a type of imaging examination that measures your bone mineral density, which is a sign of bone strength. The radiologic technologist will position you on a padded table and ask you to remain as still as possible during the test. The technologist then will use the DXA equipment to scan one or more areas of bone- usually the lower back, hip or forearm.