Patient Resources

Information you need in order to prepare for your visit to Radiology at The University of Kansas Health System.

Prepare for your exam

  • Computed tomography, or CT, is a painless exam that combines X-rays with computer scans. It creates detailed pictures of your organs, tissues and bones and provides more detail than X-rays. Your care team may use CT images to help diagnose injuries and diseases in nearly any part of the body, from the head to the feet.

    Before the exam

    It is important to follow instructions, or we may have to schedule a new appointment.

    • You will receive instructions about preparing for your exam.
    • You may need to remove your jewelry or any clothing with metal on it.
    • You may need to change your diet or stop eating or drinking for several hours.
    • Tell your care team about any medicines you are taking. You may need to stop taking them for a short time.
    • Please follow your care team instructions about when to arrive for your exam.

    Talk with your radiology care team before your exam if you:

    • May be pregnant
    • Are allergic to any dyes or have kidney problems
    • Have diabetes
    • Have eaten anything within four hours of your exam
    • Have experienced claustrophobia or anxiety when confined to small spaces
    • Have had a CT on the same part of your body before (We can compare old images to new ones.)

    During the exam

    You may be asked to change into a gown. You will lie on a table that will slide into a doughnut-shaped hole in the scanner. You will be asked to remain still and may be asked to hold your breath briefly. You may speak with your radiology care team. Your exam may take from five minutes to one hour. Most exams require 15 minutes or less.

    Some exams require a contrast substance to enhance the image.

    • You may need to drink it about one hour before the exam.
    • You may receive the contrast by injection through an IV that will be placed prior to the exam. It may make you feel warm or cause a metallic taste. This is normal and will go away soon.
    • You may have an allergic reaction to the IV contrast. We are highly trained and prepared to resolve your allergic reaction.

    After the exam

    You may be asked to stay in the exam area while we review your images. You can go back to normal diet and activities after your exam. However, your care team may ask you to withhold some medicines.

    If you received a contrast agent, it will pass through your system within 24 hours. Drink plenty of fluids to aid the process.

    Your results

    Our radiologist will review your exam and report the results to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will contact you with the results.

    If you need a copy of your report or images, contact the Radiology Imaging Center at 913-588-6812.

  • A magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, exam uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to create detailed, two- and three-dimensional pictures of your organs and tissues. The MRI doesn’t involve any radiation; the magnets and radio waves are harmless. Your care team may use MRI images to help diagnose injuries and diseases in nearly any part of the body.

    Before the exam

    It is important to follow instructions, or we may have to schedule a new appointment.

    • If you have experienced claustrophobia or anxiety when confined to small spaces, please call us before your exam at 913-945-8177.
    • Due to the use of a magnet during your exam, please wear clothing without metal such as metal zippers. Remove metal jewelry and glasses. You also may want to remove makeup, which can contain some metal. Orthodontic braces and fillings are not a problem.
    • If you are having an abdominal exam, do not eat or drink anything other than water for six hours before your scheduled exam.
    • Take any normal daily medicines.
    • Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled exam.

    If you have metal in your body, it could interfere with your MRI. Please tell your radiology care team if you have any of the following:

    • Pacemakers
    • Replacement joints or implants
    • Medicated adhesive patches
    • Metal splinters
    • Tattoos
    • Dental implants or devices
    • Drug infusion ports or pumps

    Talk with your radiology care team before your exam if you:

    • Are nursing or may be pregnant
    • Have diabetes
    • Are allergic to any dyes or have kidney problems
    • Have experienced claustrophobia or anxiety when confined to small spaces
    • Have had an MRI on the same part of your body before (We can compare old images to new ones.)

    During the exam

    You may need to change into a gown. You will lie on a table, and the table will slide into the long, metal tube with the magnet. You will be asked to remain still.

    During the exam, you will be able to speak with your care team. You will hear noises from the machine. You may be able to use earplugs or headphones with music to reduce the noise. Exams may take from 30 minutes to an hour per test.

    Some exams require a contrast dye to enhance the image. If your exam includes contrast, you will receive it by injection through an IV.

    After the exam

    You may return to normal activities after your exam. If you received a contrast dye, it will pass through your system within 24 hours. Drink plenty of fluids to help the process.

    Our radiologist will review your exam and report the results to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will contact you with the results.

    If you need a copy of your report or images, contact the Radiology Imaging Center at 913-588-6812.

  • Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of a radioactive substance, or tracer, and a Gamma camera to diagnose or treat diseases. The tracer goes to a specific area of the body and emits a small amount of radiation, which the camera detects. Your care team may use nuclear medicine images to help diagnose or treat many conditions.

    Before the exam

    It is important to follow instructions, or we may have to schedule a new appointment.

    • You may need to change your diet before the exam.
    • You may need to remove your jewelry or any clothing with metal on it.
    • Talk with your care team about any medicines you take and whether to change them before your exam.
    • Please follow your care team instructions about when to arrive for your exam. Arrival times before your exam and scan times vary by procedure. If you were not notified of these instructions or have questions, please contact us.

    Talk with your radiology care team before your exam if you:

    • Are nursing or may be pregnant
    • Have any fractures or replacement joints
    • Are diabetic
    • Have had a nuclear medicine imaging exam on the same part of your body before (We can compare old images to new ones.)

    During the exam

    • You may need to change into a gown.
    • You will lie on a table. The technologist may position you more than once to get the images needed.
    • You will need to stay still.
    • Your exam may take from 30 minutes to several hours. Some exams can be spread over a few days.
    • Most nuclear exams require you to receive a tracer. You may receive it by mouth, by injection through an IV or by breathing it in. You may need to take the tracer immediately, one hour or a few days before your exam.

    After the exam

    You may be asked to stay in the exam area while we review your images. You may return to normal activities and medicines after your exam, unless you receive different instructions. Drink plenty of fluids to help the tracer pass through your system.

    Our radiologist will report the results to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will contact you to discuss them.

    If you need a copy of your report or images, contact the Radiology Imaging Center at 913-588-6812.

  • PET stands for positron emission tomography. CT stands for computed tomography. Together, they can show the structures and processes in your body. PET/CT can help your care team view your cells and your bones. It uses small amounts of a radioactive substance, or tracer, and a camera. The tracer is designed to go to a specific area of the body. It emits a small amount of radiation the camera can detect.

    Before the exam

    It is important to follow instructions, or we may have to schedule a new appointment.

    • You will receive instructions about preparing for your exam.
    • You may need to remove your jewelry or any clothing with metal on it.
    • You may need to change your diet or stop eating or drinking for several hours.
    • You may take any normal daily medicines unless you receive different instructions.
    • Please arrive 90 minutes prior to your exam at the hospital or 30 minutes prior to your exam at a community location.

    Talk with your radiology care team before your exam if you:

    • Are nursing or may be pregnant
    • Have diabetes
    • Have experienced claustrophobia or anxiety when confined to small spaces
    • Have had a PET/CT on the same part of your body before (We can compare old images to new ones.)

    During the exam

    • About an hour before your exam, you will receive the tracer by an injection through an IV.
    • You may need to change into a gown.
    • You will lie on a table. The table will slide into a doughnut-shaped hole in the scanner.
    • You will be asked to remain still.
    • During the exam, you will be able to speak with your care team. Your exam may take from 25 to 45 minutes.

    Please allow about two hours for your visit.

    After the exam

    You may be asked to stay in the exam area while we review your images. You may return to normal activities and medicines after your exam, unless you receive different instructions.Drink plenty of fluids to help the tracer pass through your system.

    Our radiologist will review your exam and report the results to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will contact you with the results.

    If you need a copy of your report or images, contact the Radiology Imaging Center at 913-588-6812.

  • Ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image. It provides detailed pictures or videos of your organs and soft tissues. Ultrasound doesn’t involve any radiation; the sound waves are harmless. Your care team may use the images to help diagnose injuries and diseases in nearly any part of the body.

    Before the exam

    It is important to follow instructions or we may have to schedule a new appointment.

    • If you are having an ultrasound of your abdomen, you may need to stop eating or drinking a few hours before your exam.
    • If you are having an ultrasound of your pelvic area, you may need to arrive with a full bladder.
    • You may take any normal daily medicines.
    • Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled exam.
    • Let your care team know if you have had an ultrasound on the same part of your body before. We can compare old images to new ones.

    During the exam

    • You may need to change into a gown. You will lie on a table.
    • A sonographer will place some clear gel on your skin over the part of your body being examined. It may feel warm, but it will not harm your skin or your clothes. It washes off easily with water.
    • The sonographer will move a small device called a transducer over the area. It sends images to a screen, and we will record them.
    • You may feel pressure during the exam.
    • You may hear a whooshing sound during your exam, as the transducer detects your blood flow.
  • X-rays are like photographs. They use radiation to create detailed images of the body. Some exams may include fluoroscopy, which is a dynamic, live X-ray viewed on a monitor. Your care team may use X-ray images to help diagnose injuries and diseases in nearly any part of the body.

    Before the exam

    It is important to follow instructions, or we may have to schedule a new appointment.You may need to change your diet before the exam.

    • You may need to remove your jewelry or any clothing with metal on it.
    • Take any normal daily medicines.
    • Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled exam.

    Talk with your radiology care team before your exam if you:

    • Are nursing or may be pregnant
    • Are allergic to any dyes or have kidney problems
    • Have had an X-ray on the same part of your body before (We can compare old images to new ones.)

    During the exam

    • You may need to change into a gown.
    • You will lie on a table or stand. The technologist may position you more than once to get the images needed.
    • We may place a lead apron on part of your body to protect it from the radiation.
    • The technologist will leave the room when it’s time to capture the image.
    • You will need to stay still. Your care team may ask you to hold your breath briefly.
    • Most exams take just a few minutes. Fluoroscopy exams may take longer.
    • Some exams require a contrast dye to enhance the image. If your exam includes contrast, you will receive it by injection through an IV, or you may swallow it.

    After the exam

    You may be asked to remain in the exam area while we review your images. You may return to normal activities after your exam, unless you receive different instructions. If you received contrast dye, it will pass through your system within 24 hours. Drink plenty of fluids to help the process.

    Our radiologist will review your exam and report the results to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will contact you with the results.

    If you need a copy of your report or images, contact the Radiology Imaging Center at 913-588-6812.

Radiation safety

We place the highest importance on your well-being. Your care team will minimize your exposure to the radiation of X-ray, CT and nuclear imaging procedures as much as possible. The benefits of these technologies, which help with diagnoses and treatments, far outweigh the risk.

Radiation frequently asked questions

  • X-rays are a form of high energy, or radiation, that can penetrate the body. They are used to produce pictures of the inside of your body. Doctors use these pictures to make a diagnosis or provide a treatment.

  • Radiation is measured in units, sometimes called effective doses.

    • Millisievert (mSv)
    • Millirem (mrem)

    1 mSv equals 100 mrem.

  • Radiation exposure from an X-ray test is similar to the background radiation you are exposed to in your everyday environment. Background radiation comes from the sun, water, ground and air. In the United States, people are exposed to about 3 mSv each year – or less than 0.01 mSv (1 mrem) a day.

  • Exposure to radiation can cause a small increase in your risk of developing cancer later on. Cancer that is caused by radiation typically does not occur until 20 or more years after the exposure. For this reason, children who are exposed to radiation may be at a higher risk of getting cancer later in life.

    Without additional exposure to radiation, about 42% of people in the U.S. get cancer, and 20% die from cancer.

  • It is not possible to say exactly how much an X-ray will increase your risk of cancer. We can estimate your risk based on the type of procedure you have.

  • Most X-ray procedures do not cause immediate harm. Some treatments using X-rays can injure the skin, however. Before you receive a treatment, your care providers will discuss your risk with you and have you sign a consent form that provides information about potential injury. Please be sure to read it and ask any questions you may have. Remember that your doctor has scheduled the X-ray procedure because it will benefit your health.

  • It’s important to talk to your doctor about any tests or treatments you may receive. Ask questions and provide helpful information.

    • Ask why you need this test or treatment.
    • Ask how the procedure can improve your health.
    • Find out if there are alternatives to the procedure that do not use radiation but are equally good.
    • Tell your doctor about any X-ray procedure you have recently had.
    • Tell your doctor or X-ray technologist if you are, or might be, pregnant.
    • Do not insist on having an X-ray procedure if your doctor says you do not need it.
    • Do not refuse to have an X-ray procedure if there is a need for it and the benefits outweigh the risk.
  • Some risks are greater than others.

    • If you receive a chest X-ray (0.1 mSv dose of radiation), your risk of dying from cancer is about 1 in a million. The same risk results from smoking 1.4 cigarettes or eating 40 tablespoons of peanut butter.
    • If you do not receive an X-ray procedure that you need, your risks can include a missed diagnosis, treatment that begins too late to improve your medical condition or a shorter life expectancy.
  • CT stands for computed tomography. In a CT scan, X-ray tubes move around your body to take multiple images from different angles. A computer assembles the images to produce cross section views of your body. These images allow your doctor to see your internal organs and identify any abnormalities.

  • It depends on the type of CT scan you receive.

  • CT scans are a valuable tool that helps ensure you get the best care you can receive. These images can help your doctor determine if you need surgery or another treatment and if you have a condition like cancer, heart disease, stroke or internal injuries.

  • Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material for tests and treatments. In this type of scan, radioactive material is injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. A gamma camera tracks the radiation and captures images of your organs as they process these radioactive materials.

  • This type of scan helps your doctor see your internal organs and find out if they function correctly. Your doctor uses this information to determine whether there is a problem and how serious it may be.

  • It depends on your size, the type of scan you receive and the radioactive material used.

Need help making an appointment?

Call 913-588-1227 or request an appointment online.

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