Preparing for Your Radiology Visit

  • CT Scans
    • Prepare: Most patients need to drink 64 ounces of water within 12 hours prior to their scan.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 60 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Most CT scans take 15 to 20 minutes.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least 1½ hours. In some cases, it might take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.
  • Fluoroscopic Exams
    • Prepare: Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight the night before your exam.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Fluoroscopic exams vary in length.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least 1½ hours. In some cases, it might take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.
  • Interventional Procedures
    • Prepare: A nurse will call you with instructions for you to follow to prepare for your procedure.
    • Arrive: A nurse will tell you when to arrive.
    • Expect: Interventional procedures vary in length, some requiring an overnight stay in the hospital.
    • Visit time: A nurse will let you know what to expect for the length of your visit.
    • After: A nurse will provide instructions to follow after your procedure.
  • MRI
    • Prepare: You might need to stop eating, drinking or taking your medicine before your scan. Ask your healthcare provider how you need to prepare for your scan.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Most MRI scans take 45 minutes (for each body area scanned). In some cases, it might take longer.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least two hours. In some cases, it might take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.
  • Nuclear Medicine
    • Prepare: You might need to stop eating, drinking or taking your medicine before your scan. Ask your healthcare provider how you need to prepare for your scan.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time. If you’re having a bone scan, you should arrive 2½ hours before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Most nuclear medicine scans take two hours. In some cases, they might take longer.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least 2½ hours. In some cases, it might take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.
  • PET Scans
    • Prepare: Do not eat or drink anything, including water, for at least six hours before your scan. You might also need to stop taking your medications. Depending upon the type of PET scan you’re having, you might be given additional instructions that you need to follow. Ask your healthcare provider how you need to prepare for your exam.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Most scans take 1½ to 2 hours. In some cases, they might take longer.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least 2½ hours. In some cases, it may take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.
  • PICC Line
    • Prepare: In most cases, no preparation is needed.
    • Arrive: A nurse will tell you when to arrive. Generally, you should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: PICC procedures vary in length.
    • Visit time: A nurse will let you know what to expect for the length of your visit.
    • After: A nurse will provide instructions for your recovery.
  • Ultrasound
    • Prepare: Most ultrasound exams do not require preparation.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Most exams take 45 to 60 minutes. In some cases, they might take longer.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least 1½ hours. In some cases, it might take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.
  • X-ray
    • Prepare: Most X-rays do not require preparation.
    • Arrive: You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.
    • Expect: Most X-rays take 15-45 minutes. In some cases, they take take longer.
    • Visit time: You should plan for your visit to be at least one hour. In some cases, it might take longer.
    • After: Most patients can go back to their normal activities and diet immediately.

Related Programs