FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not find the answer to your question, please call 239.936.2316 

General

Does my doctor need to see my x-rays?

Usually a written report from the radiologist is sufficient. Some doctors such as orthopedic surgeons and chiropractors do need to see the x-rays and will ask you to bring the films.

How do I obtain copies of my medical records from Radiology Regional?

A:  This request needs to be received in writing.  There are several ways you can do this.

    1. You can download and print our Authorization for Release of Medical Records form**
    2. You can request this form be faxed or mailed to you.
    3. You can write a letter containing the following information:
      • Name
      • Date of Birth
      • Social Security Number
      • Expiration date for request
      • Address where records should be sent
Mail to:
Radiology Regional
Attention: Medical Records
3680 Broadway
Fort Myers, FL 33901
-OR- Fax to:
Radiology Regional
Attention: Medical Records
239.275.6455
Will the x-ray technologist see anything wrong with my x-rays?

The technologists are not qualified to read your x-rays. When they check them, it is to make sure the quality is good enough for the radiologist to interpret them.

CT

Is CT an x-ray?

Yes. A CT scan is made up of a series of x-rays which are processed by a computer to produce cross-sectional pictures of the body. These cross-sectional images allow one to look at the inside of the body just as one would look at the inside of a loaf of bread by slicing it. A CT scan is thus made up of a series of slices.

Why do I have to drink so much of this “stuff”?

Prior to most CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis, it is important to drink an oral contrast agent which contains dilute barium. This contrast agent helps the radiologist identify the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, small and large bowel), detect abnormalities of these organs, and to separate these structures from other structures within the abdomen. We ask patients to drink slightly less than a quart spread out over one and a half to two hours.

Mammogram

What is the difference between a screening mammo and a diagnostic mammo?

A screening mammogram is performed on women with no symptoms to detect abnormalities of the breasts. Four x-ray pictures, two of each breast are taken on a dedicated x-ray machine. To obtain the best possible images with the least radiation special film is used and the breasts are compressed briefly. The exam takes approximately one half hour. The mammogram is performed by a technologist who has an advanced training and certification in breast imaging. After the x-rays are obtained they are reviewed and interpreted by a board certified radiologist, who specializes in breast imaging.

A diagnostic mammogram is performed on women who have a breast problem or symptom, such as a lump, nipple discharge or breast pain or as a follow up to an abnormal screening mammogram. The x-rays taken vary and are dedicated to the particular finding or problem. The mammogram is performed on a dedicated x-ray machine using special film that is designed to provide the best possible pictures with the least amount of radiation. To achieve this, the breast(s) is/are compressed briefly during the exam. The length of the exam varies. Depending on the findings of the diagnostic mammogram a breast ultrasound may follow. The diagnostic mammogram is performed by a technologist who has an advanced training and certification in breast imaging. After the x-rays are obtained, they are reviewed and interpreted by a board certified radiologist, who specializes in breast imaging. It is important for the radiologist to compare your current mammogram with your prior mammogram. If your prior films were not obtained at Radiology Regional, please bring them with you to your appointment or tell the scheduler where they were taken, so that we may obtain them in time for your appointment.

I have had many negative mammograms in the past. Is it necessary to keep having them?

Since the risk of breast cancer increases with age, it is important to keep having mammograms. If a cancer is found, it is best to find it early when the chance for a cure is highest. Studies have shown that a mammogram every year is the best test we have to catch breast cancer early.

Why do I need additional views?

Frequently the four standard views are adequate. However, it is common for the technologist to perform additional views if an area of tissue is not well seen on the standard views. In addition, the radiologist may request extra views clarify to an area of density or calcification seen on the standard views.

Is it going to hurt?

Compression of the breasts is necessary for a good mammogram. It allows the radiologist, the doctor who reads the mammogram, to see the normal breast tissue better and to detect an abnormality. Compression also lowers the radiation dose to the breasts. Women who have very tender breasts may experience discomfort. To reduce this discomfort, schedule your mammogram one week after your period when the breasts are typically not as tender.

MRI

I have metal in my body from prior surgery. Can I have an MRI?

Most people who have metal in their body after surgery can have an MRI. For example, patients with hip or knee replacements can have an MRI 6 weeks after surgery. Other implanted devices require less time after surgery. Certain devices can never go into the MRI machine. Heart pacemakers, and some implanted pumps and nerve stimulators cannot go in the MRI scanner. Some brain aneurysm clips (particularly older ones) cannot go into the scanner. If you have had any prior surgery, you must let the technologist know prior to the scan. Also, if there is any chance there may be metal in any part of your body from a prior injury or from grinding metal, please inform the technologist prior to the scan.

Do I really have to hold still?

Yes. An MRI exam is composed of a series of images. Each series takes 3 to 5 minutes. Any movement during this time causes the pictures to be “blurry” and limits the radiologist’s ability to interpret the study. Also, we focus the exam on a specific part of the body. If you move, the area we are focusing on may no longer be in the proper position.

I’m claustrophobic. How far do I go into the scanner?

In order to get the best pictures possible, the part of the body being studied, has to be in the middle of the scanner. Thus, if you are having a brain MRI, your head will have to be in the middle of the scanner. If you are having an ankle MRI, your ankle will be in the scanner, but your head will not.

Breast MRI

Who should be screened for breast cancer using breast MRI?

A baseline mammogram should be performed at the age of 40, and annually thereafter, based on the recommendations of the American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society.  If a woman has a first degree relative diagnosed premenopausally with breast cancer, the baseline should be 10 years earlier than the premenopausal-diagnosed age.  For example, if my mother was diagnosed at the age of 37, I should have my baseline mammogram at the age of 27.Early detection does not stop with the mammogram, however.  Monthly self-exams and annual physical exams are vital components of the checks and balances necessary for the complete evaluation.  If a woman is still menstruating, she should do her monthly self-exam after menstruation begins, when her hormones are in their downward trend, and the glandular tissue is least stimulated by the circulating hormones.  If the woman is post-menopausal, plan the exam on a monthly basis with with a recurring event or activity so it is easier to remember to do the self-exam.

What is the difference between a breast MRI scan and a mammogram?

Mammograms use x-rays to generate images of the breast tissue to search for cancer. Breast MRI is a different imaging technique that captures multiple cross-sectional pictures of your breast without any radiation exposure. Breast MRI does not replace a mammogram, but is an additional screening tool used for women at high-risk of developing breast cancer.

Ultrasound

What is a breast ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is performed to evaluate a palpable lump or an abnormality visualized on a mammogram. The distinction can be made between cystic (fluid-filled) and solid abnormalities. This information aides the radiologist and the patient’s clinician in determining the appropriate course of treatment for the patient. The exam is performed by a registered sonographer and interpreted by a Board Certified radiologist that both specialize in breast imaging. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves instead of radiation to image the breast tissue. The exam is performed by placing a small amount of warm gel on the breast, then scanning the area of concern with an ultrasound transducer (fancy microphone).

Does a breast ultrasound show more than a mammogram?

Mammography is still the best way to image the entire breast. Ultrasound is used to target certain areas in question on the mammogram, as well as lumps and painful areas that the patient or physician is concerned about.

Why do I have to fast for an abdominal ultrasound?

Fasting reduces the amount of air in the stomach and intestines which can interfere with visualization of the abdominal organs. It also ensures that the gallbladder will be distended so it can be thoroughly evaluated.

Why do I have to have a full bladder for a pelvic ultrasound?

A distended bladder acts as a “window” through which the sound waves travel and allows the sonographer to visualize the pelvic organs. A distended bladder also displaces bowel, which can prevent visualization of the pelvic organs.