X-ray and imaging scans are valuable imaging tools used to diagnose your problem. Contrary to general opinion, doctors do not have x-ray vision. If you tell the EM doctor you have a pain in your head, he or she may order a test that will help show what is causing the pain. An imaging study may be ordered with contrast. The contrast is a solution given by mouth, rectum or IV to help differentiate areas that would otherwise look similar. The contrast may contain iodine so if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish, say so before the test! It’s also important to let the health care team know if you are or could be pregnant.
A magnetic resonance imager (MRI) is a machine used for diagnostic purposes. Before this test you will be asked if you have any metal in your body, and that includes implanted medical devices and the nail you stepped on 20 years ago that is still there. Metal in an MRI can be lethal so speak up!
Understand that the results of this test are going to be reviewed and interpreted by a trained radiologist who will share the results with the doctor. And because we’re living in the age of technology, this radiologist may not be downstairs in the hospital but on the other side of the world. Preliminary readings are done while you are in the ER; however, you may get a follow-up call if a different interpretation is made by a radiologist.