Radiology and Imaging Patient Resources

The documents and questions in this section in this section are educational or instructional in nature and are meant for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin radiology patients.

Patient Handouts

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule a radiology exam?

Your physician will refer you for a test at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Radiology Department. He or she will notify the department to schedule your exam. If you will be having a mammogram or nuclear medicine exam, your physician will need to send a written order to us.

Where is Radiology located at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin?

The Radiology Department is conveniently located on the second floor, near the entrance to Specialty Clinics. Outpatient services for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and breast imaging (mammography) and nuclear medicine/PET are located in the lower level of Pavilion Imaging Center.

How long will my imaging test take?

The amount of time for an imaging exam varies greatly, depending on the type of exam you are having. It may take only a few minutes or two or more hours. Ask your doctor and he or she will provide information about the specific exam you will have having.

Will my imaging test hurt?

For many imaging exams, there is no contact with the body. Exceptions include an ultrasound exam, in which a transducer is guided over part of the body, and mammography, in which the breast is compressed to even out the tissue, increase image quality and hold the breast still to prevent a blurred image.

A patient may experience discomfort or pain during preparation for certain imaging tests or during an interventional radiology procedure, which may involve small incisions to place catheters and other tools. These procedures are often performed using local anesthesia and sedation. Before an imaging exam, you will receive complete information about the procedure and what to expect. 

How do I obtain access to my X-rays, MRI scans, CT nuclear medicine/PET scans or other images?

You may request your radiology images as well as your medical records by printing and filling out a medical records authorization form allowing us to release your private health information. You must mail the form to us. By law, we may not release your medical information through a request made by phone or e-mail or through an online form.

I’m claustrophobic and need to have an MRI exam. Can I be sedated for the exam?

Yes, sedation medication can be given to people who may feel claustrophobic or may find it difficult to remain still during an MRI exam. Contact the Radiology Department or your physician for information about receiving sedation. You will need to arrive early to receive the medication in advance of the exam. Because you will be sedated, another person must come with you to drive you home.

Is the radiation used in X-rays or nuclear medicine/PET tests harmful?

An X-ray exam uses electromagnetic radiation to make images of the body. X-rays are safe and effective for people of all ages. Patients have an X-ray only when their condition warrants more information than a physical exam can provide. Our radiologists take great care to use the lowest radiation dose possible to produce the best images for diagnosis.

The dose of radioactive material given for nuclear medicine tests is very small, and there are no known long-term adverse effects.

If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, inform your doctor before having an X-ray or nuclear medicine test. In general, exposure to radiation during pregnancy should be kept to a minimum. Your doctor may decide to use another imaging test such as ultrasound.

In a nuclear medicine exam, how long will it take for the radiation to leave my body?

A very small amount of a radioactive material is given to patients before they have a diagnostic nuclear medicine exam. This material disappears from the body within a few days. During this time, the radiation poses no risk to the patient or to family members.

Can I go through an airport detector after a nuclear medicine/PET exam?

If you will be flying shortly after having a nuclear medicine/PET exam, an airport detector may pick up traces of radiation leaving your body. To avoid a problem, please ask the Nuclear Medicine department for a card which explains that you received a small amount of a radioactive material for a medical test.

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