Yale Health

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a radiologist?

A radiologist is a board-certified doctor who specializes in imaging techniques. The radiologist will read (interpret) the imaging test and write a report on the findings. This report will be sent to your referring clinician. The clinician that referred you for the exam will give you the results of the test.

What are an x-ray technologist, ultrasound technologist, and a CT technologist?

All x-ray, ultrasound, or CT technologists are trained healthcare workers who have graduated from accredited programs. Technologists are required to maintain ongoing education by their respective professional organizations. They have specific skills in the area of manipulating equipment to take pictures of the body so that diseases, conditions, or injury can be visualized and diagnosed.

CT and MRI technologists are licensed to inject contrast medications at the direction of the radiologist. Technologists are not trained to read films.

Why aren’t patients taken in the order they arrive?

The Diagnostic Imaging Department at Yale Health offers many different services, which require different equipment. Another person in the waiting room may be having an ultrasound, MRI or CT scan and is waiting in a different “line”. A patient that qualifies as an “emergency” will be taken in before other non-urgent examinations.

What is an x-ray?

Radiographs, commonly known as x-rays, produce images of the internal structures of the body. There are no discernible sensations during the actual x-ray examination. However, some of the positions the radiology technologist may instruct you to assume may aggravate or intensify existing pain. The radiology technologist may incorporate pillows, sponges and other positioning devices to alleviate as much discomfort as possible.

Please notify the radiology technologist BEFORE you have the exam if you have had a similar x-ray exam recently or if you are a woman who is or might be pregnant.

What do I need to do to prepare for an x-ray?

**If you know that you are pregnant or might be pregnant please inform the technologist BEFORE your exam. **

There is no preparation for a patient undergoing an x-ray.

What is a Computed Tomography (CT scan) exam?

A CT scan is carried out by using a special x-ray machine which produces an image of a cross-section, or slice of the body. The scanner consists of a “doughnut”-shaped structure, about two-feet thick, through which you pass on a table.

The image shows your organs and soft tissues more clearly than standard x-rays. Because the image is created by a computer, it can be enlarged to make it easier to read and interpret. CT scans use controlled amounts of x-ray beams of high-energy radiation that are passed through the body to create images.

Please be aware that some CT scans require that the patient drink oral contrast and/or have an IV placed for intravenous contrast.  If you require an to drink and oral contrast, you will be asked to do so on site for 60-90 minutes.  You may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking (nothing by mouth) anything a certain number of hours before your exam.

You will be asked to fill out a CT pre-scan questionnaire when you first arrive in the department. It is extremely important that you communicate to the technologist any allergies that you might have before beginning the exam.

What do I need to do to prepare for a Computed Tomography (CT scan) exam?

**This exam cannot be performed on pregnant women.  You will be given a pregnancy test prior to your exam. **

These are the preparations for a CT scan. If you have any questions please call the Diagnostic Imaging Department or your referring clinician.

Abdomen

Nothing by mouth for four hours prior to appointment.

Pelvic

Nothing by mouth for four hours prior to appointment.

Chest

Nothing by mouth for four hours prior to appointment.

Head

Nothing by mouth for four hours prior to appointment.

Cervical Spine

No preparation is required.

Thoracic Spine

No preparation is required.

Lumbar Spine

No preparation is required.

Sinus

No preparation is required.

Extremities (legs, arms)

No preparation is required.

What is an ultrasound (sonogram)?

An ultrasound exam (also known as a sonogram), uses sound waves far above the range of human hearing to penetrate your body. When your internal organs reflect back the sound waves, a computer records and interprets the resulting echoes and generates an image of the area of your body being examined. An ultrasound does not use x-rays.

An ultrasound technologist will spread a gel over the area of your body to be scanned and then run a wand-like instrument (called a transducer) through the gel. A video screen will display a moving image of the area examined, and the image will be recorded for analysis.

Most sonogram examinations are not painful. Some procedures may cause some temporary discomfort.

What do I need to do to prepare for an ultrasound (sonogram) exam?

**If you know that you are pregnant or might be pregnant please inform the technologist BEFORE your exam. **

These are the preparations for an ultrasound exam. If you have any questions please call the Diagnostic Imaging Department or your referring clinician.

Pelvic

Patient should drink 32 oz. of water 60 minutes prior to their appointment time. The exam requires a full bladder for better visualization of the pelvic organs.

Abdominal

Nothing by mouth for eight hours prior to appointment.

Renal

16 oz. of water 45 minutes prior to appointment time.

Scrotal

No preparation is required.

Vascular

No preparation is required.

Thyroid

No preparation is required.

What is a sonohysterogram (SHG)?

The sonohysterogram (SHG), or saline ultrasound, is a procedure performed in the Diagnostic Imaging Department by an Ob/Gyn clinician, where saline is injected into the uterus while an ultrasound is performed. It is used to evaluate the uterus. It is normally performed between days 7 and 12 of your cycle and takes about 20 to 60 minutes to perform.

You will be asked to undress and put on a gown. You will be asked to lie on your back on an examination table. A small flexible catheter, through which sterile water is instilled, is placed in the uterus. This fluid improves the ability of the ultrasound to visualize the inner cavity of the uterus.  After the examination you may feel period-like pains and have some discharge.

Please speak with your referring clinician for detailed preparation instructions.

What do I need to do to prepare for a sonohysterogram exam (SHG)?

**This exam cannot be performed on pregnant women.  You will be given a pregnancy test prior to your exam. **

It is normally performed between days 7 and 12 of your cycle.

Please speak with your referring clinician for all of the preparation instructions.

What is a hysterosalpinogram (HSG)?

A hysterosalpinogram (HSG) is an x-ray examination of the fallopian tubes and uterus, which checks to see if the cavity of the uterus is normal and whether the tubes are open. It is normally performed between days 7 and 10 of your cycle and takes about 30 minutes to perform.

You will be asked to undress and put on a gown. You will be asked to lie on your back on an examination table. A small plastic tube is inserted into your vagina, through your cervix and into your womb. You may feel slightly uncomfortable as this happens.

A colorless liquid, which shows up on x-rays is flushed into the fallopian tubes and then spills out into the abdominal cavity. X-ray pictures are taken while the dye is flowing through the organs. Some women feel a sharp pain, similar to period pains as the liquid travels into each fallopian tube.

After the examination you may feel period-like pains and have some discharge, which contains the dye and also some blood.

What do I need to do to prepare for a hysterosalpinogram exam (HSG)?

**This exam cannot be performed on pregnant women.  You will be given a pregnancy test prior to your exam. **

It is normally performed in the Diagnostic Imaging Department by an Ob/Gyn clinician between days 7 and 12 of your cycle.

Please speak with your referring clinician for all of the preparation instructions.

How do I get the results of my Diagnostic Imaging test?

The clinician that referred you for the exam will give you the results of the test. The radiology results are only one part of your diagnosis; it is best that your referring clinician provide you with the full diagnosis.

Your results will also be available after 7 days in MyChart (a secure web-based clinician-patient communication tool).

 

Can the radiology technologist, ultrasound technologist, or CT scan technologist give me the results of my exam?

No.  The technologists review each film for technical quality and ensure that optimal information is available. The medical report on your films is provided by a radiologist at a later time. This report is then passed onto your referring clinician.

How do I get a copy of the radiology report/image?

Your report will be available after 7 days in MyChart (a secure web-based clinician-patient communication tool).

Upon your written request and authorization, your medical records will be forwarded to any designated individual or institution. We provide up to 10 pages of records at no cost, including copies for personal use and those sent to doctors' offices, hospitals, insurance companies, attorneys, employers, and others.

You may obtain copies of your records by filling out a Release of Health Information Form. Mail or fax the completed form to the Health Information Management Department (address and fax number are found directly on the form). Call the Health Information Management Department at 203-432-0062 or email yhmedicalrecords@yale.edu for more information.

Please plan ahead as requests are generally processed in the order received and at certain times of year the waiting time for obtaining records may be as long as 30 days.

Please note that the following items can be released as soon as the completed form is received: immunization records, prescription records, and the most current physical.

How do I get a CD of my MRI or CT scan?

You may obtain copies of your records by filling out a Release of Health Information Form. Mail or fax the completed form to the Health Information Management Department (address and fax number are found directly on the form). Call the Health Information Management Department at 203-432-0062 or email yhmedicalrecords@yale.edu for more information.

Please note, we can only provide images of MRI's or CT scans that were performed at the Yale Health Center.

Are there diagnostic imaging exams that you do not offer at the Yale Health Center?

Yes. The Yale Health Center does not offer:

  • Mammography
  • Renal artery stenosis ultrasound
  • Renal doppler ultrasound
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Ultrasound, CT scan or MRI guided biopsies or drainages
  • MRIs on anyone under the age of 14
  • MRI arthrogram
  • Open MRIs
  • Any exams under conscious sedation

If you require any of the above examinations, your referring clinician will arrange for you to have these studies done elsewhere.

Do you offer on-site mammography or breast ultrasound exams?

No.  Yale Health does not offer on-site mammography or breast ultrasound exams at the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock Street.

Yale Health members may obtain screening mammograms by calling 203-688-1010 for any one of the following facilities:

  • Yale-New Haven Breast Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital, 35 Park Street, New Haven

  • North Haven Medical Center, 6 Devine St, North Haven  

  • Long Wharf Medical Center, 150 Sargent Drive, New Haven

  • Shoreline Medical Center, 111 Goose Lane, Guilford

  • Yale-New Haven Mammography Van, mobile van, multiple locations

May I bring my children with me to my appointment?

No.  If you have young children, make arrangements for a babysitter or childcare before your exam date. Children are not allowed in the examination rooms and may not be left in the waiting room unattended.

May I bring a friend or relative?

Yes.  However, only in special circumstances, or in the case of young children having an exam, will they be permitted to accompany you into the actual exam room.

Are there weight limits for having an x-ray, MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound at Yale Health?

Yes.  The weight limit to have an x-ray is 300 lbs. The weight limit to have an MRI is 400 lbs. The weight limit to have a CT scan is 450 lbs.

May I leave my watch or other jewelry on during my exam?

For MRIs, you must remove all metal, including body piercings. For all other types of exams, it depends upon what part of your body we are imaging. We may ask you to remove metal items such as watches, jewelry, partial dentures, oral bridgework, underwire bras, etc.