General Information:

Q: What are the hours of operation for Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (Brantford General Site)?
The Radiology department at The Brantford General Site operates 24 hrs. a day. Procedures that require a booked appointment are performed between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. General walk-in x-ray procedures not requiring a booked appointment can be performed at any time but are most easily accommodated during the department's regular daytime working hours. Nuclear Medicine studies always require a booked appointment and are performed during regular daytime working hours.

Q: How do I make an appointment ?
A doctors referral is required for any Diagnostic Imaging procedure. If your doctor has ordered an examination that requires a booked appointment and you have a requisition from the doctors office for the study, you can call the Radiology department yourself to arrange an appointment time. Appointments are not given for examinations that do not require pre-booking such as regular x-ray studies (chest x-ray, back x-rays etc.). For these types of studies, simply come to the department with your requisition from the doctor when convenient.

Q: Where do I go to have my exam done (where do I register?)?
All patients should report to the main Information desk in the Radiology (X-Ray) department to register when they arrive for their exams. This applies to both Radiology and Nuclear Medicine patients.

Q: Will my examination be performed on time ?
The department makes every effort to insure that examinations are performed on time. It is however impossible to predict when emergencies will arise particularly in a hospital setting. We understand that delays are annoying but these are sometimes unavoidable when critically ill patients need to be accommodated on a priority basis. Please bear with us.

Q: Some patients arrived after me but were taken in for their exams first. Why ?
Some patients arrive at the department for booked appointments (i.e.: Ultrasound) while others arrive for unbooked procedures (i.e.: Chest X-Ray) on a first come first served basis. This accounts for why a patient who arrived after you (for a different procedure than you) might be taken in first.

Q: How will my doctor get the results of my exam ?
After your procedure is completed, the images are interpreted by the medical staff who work in the Radiology and Nuclear Medicine departments and a dictated report of your exam is sent to your physician. If the report concerns an urgent matter, the report is given immediately by telephone or fax.


Q: What preparations are required for x-ray studies?
In many cases, none. The radiology department will inform you of any preparations if there are any.

Q: How safe are x-ray studies?
Modern x-ray equipment produces images using very small radiation doses. The risk of exposure to medical x-rays over the course of an average lifetime is generally felt to be clinically insignificant. Female patients should inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant before any x-rays are taken.

Q: What preparation is required for a barium study?
Your doctors office will usually provide you with preparation instructions for these exams at the time they are booked. If you are not given instructions, contact the Radiology department at B.G.H. for them. Make sure you are aware of and follow the preparation instructions for the exam your doctor has ordered. If you arrive for one of these exams without preparation it will often have to be cancelled and re-booked.

Q: How long do special x-ray studies (barium studies etc.) take to perform?
This varies with the exam. Upper G.I. exams of the esophagus and stomach are often completed in 10 to 15 minutes. Barium enema exams may take 30 to 45 minutes to finish. Examinations of the small bowel require unpredictable amounts of time. Some patients are finished in two hours time while others will need to have pictures taken at varying intervals throughout the day. Myelogram exams are often completed in 30 minutes but patients are required to remain in hospital for several hours afterward for observation.


Q: What preparations are required for a mammogram?
Please do not use a deodorant on the day of your exam. Wash off any traces of deodorant that may be present prior to arriving for the exam. Do not use any underarm powder or talc on the day of the exam. All of these products can create produce false mammographic findings that can interfere with evaluation of your exam.

Q: Why does the breast need to be compressed for a mammogram?
The x-ray technique used for mammography is intolerant of wide variations in the thickness of breast tissues. Good quality images can only be obtained if the breast is compressed to a uniform thickness. Compression also helps to reduce the x-ray dose required for the exam. Compression of the breast is uncomfortable but necessary to perform the exam.

Q: What does it mean if I am asked to return for additional views?
Sometimes the standard views obtained of the breasts are not sufficient to fully evaluate them. Factors such as positioning of the breasts, density of the breast tissue and unintentional artifacts on the films can lead to a requirement for more views. Additional views are sometimes required to determine if a questionable finding on the original views is of significance. More often than not it isn't.

Q: When will my doctor have the report of my mammogram?
Most mammograms are reported on the day that they are performed but not all. If prior comparison studies need to be obtained from another facility, or additional views or breast ultrasound needs to be performed to complete the evaluation, the report of the exam may be delayed to varying degrees. This is preferable to issuing reports rapidly that may be inaccurate or incomplete.

Q: How often should screening mammograms be performed?
It is presently advised that all women over the age of fifty have a screening mammogram bi-annually.

Q: Does mammography find all breast cancers?
Unfortunately, no. Like any other radiological study, mammography is not perfect. Between 4 and 8 percent of breast cancers are not detected by mammography for a variety of reasons.

Computed Tomography (C.T.):

Q: What preparation is required for the exam?
A: The preparation required varies according to the type of exam that has been ordered. Some exams require the injection of x-ray contrast material (x-ray "dye") while others will require that you drink contrast material as well to outline the stomach and bowel. This material is taken on the day of and/or the night before the exam. You will be given preparation instructions for the exam by the radiology department or your doctors office prior to the exam.

Q: How long does the examination take?
The time required for the exam is variable depending upon the complexity of the exam that is required. Some exams will require some extra preparations prior to scanning such as commencing an I.V. line. In general, patients should plan on spending at least one half hour in the department and possibly longer.

Q: Is C.T. scanning painful?

Q: Will the C.T. staff inform me of the results?
No. The results of the exam will be given to the doctor(s) who are treating you.

X-Ray "dye" (contrast):

Q: What is x-ray "dye" (contrast)?
X-Ray contrast material is a liquid compound containing iodine that is frequently used as a part of a large number of different x-ray procedures. X-ray contrast is visible by x-ray and is used to provide visibility of different body tissues that are otherwise difficult or impossible to see by regular x-ray.

Q: How is it used?
Different types of exams require that contrast be administered in different ways. Most commonly, contrast is given by injection into an arm vein. Sometimes it is injected into arteries through a catheter or into joints or placed into the bladder or elsewhere in some fashion depending upon what the exam demands.

Q: Is it safe?
Contrast reactions are allergic reactions that occasionally occur as with any medication. The rate of serious or fatal reaction is approximately 1 in 100,000 injections. Minor reactions such as hives, sneezing, wheezing are more common (1 in 2,000 to 5,000) but are usually mild and temporary. Minor side effects of contrast usually involve a sensation of body warmth, urge to urinate and a funny taste or smell. These side effects are common and of no significance. They resolve quickly, are not dangerous and usually last less than half a minute. Side effects are not the same as allergic reactions.

Q: Who is at risk for a reaction?
Those at higher risk involve patients with a previous history of contrast allergy, severe asthma and, possibly, allergy to shellfish (controversial). Contrast reactions are unpredictable and it cannot be stated with certainty as to whether a patient will have a reaction or not. Diabetic patients taking Metformin should inform the staff of this as contrast can temporarily worsen kidney function in such patients. There are some steps that can be taken to minimize this side effect.

Overall, contrast is safe in the vast majority of patients. By comparison 1 in 1,000 people have a serious allergy to aspirin or penicillin.

Q: What happens if I have a reaction to contrast?
Medications are kept in the department to deal with contrast reactions. If need be, patients can be quickly transported to the Emergency department for additional treatment.

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