How to Prepare for Imaging Tests

The first thing the doctors at our Atlanta injury center do when you arrive as a new patient is order various imaging tests to assess your injuries. Bone fractures and internal organ damage, among others, are not visible to the eye.

Imaging tests show images of the inside of your body – bones, muscles, organs and blood vessels. They help our doctors understand the exact location and extent of the injury, so they can start treating you.

Why Imaging Tests Are Scheduled and Not Performed on the Spot

Do not be worried if the doctors will not perform these tests immediately after you come for the initial check-up. You need to follow some instructions and prepare for these tests. These requirements are for your own safety and to ensure that the test results are accurate.

Here is what you should do before each of the most common imaging tests you may have to undergo after an accident:

Computer Tomography (CT Scan)

The CT scan machine combines X-ray technology with advanced computers. The test is non-invasive and will allow your doctors to see detailed images of your organs, soft tissues, bones and joints.

Your doctor may instruct you not to eat or drink three hours prior to the test, especially if it involves the use of contrast substance. This is a special formula of dye developed specifically for these tests. It is completely harmless. Its purpose is to show all your blood vessels in detail.

Other preparations for the test include:

  • Disclosing any allergies and medical conditions
  • For kidney patients, a blood test to indicate the level of kidney function prior to the test
  • Women should disclose any possibility that they may be pregnant
  • If you are allergic to the contrast substance, the doctor will prescribe medication to reduce the allergic reaction

A typical CT scan takes between 10 and 30 minutes and it is generally painless.

a CT scan is painless and does not take a long time

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Our Atlanta injury center uses the latest generation MRI devices. They use magnetic field and radio waves to produce highly detailed images of the organs inside your body. The device looks like a huge cylinder. The patient lies on a bed which is slid inside the cylinder. In some cases, the doctor will have to administer a contrast substance (dye).

To prepare for the test, you should:

  • Disclose any medical conditions
  • Inform the doctor if you have any metallic devices inside your body: IUD device, cochlear implant, nerve stimulator, infusion pump, piercings
  • Women should tell their doctor if they may be pregnant.
  • Continue to eat and take your medication as usual

It is important to note that any metallic device implanted in your body may make you ineligible for MRI testing, unless the device can be removed. If you have dark ink tattoos, the ink may contain trace metals and this could expose you to injuries or distorted test results, since the MRI machine is essentially a very large magnet and may violently pry any metallic item out of your body.

Also, MRIs are not recommended for pregnant women.


There are no specific preparations for an X-ray. However, women must disclose if they may be pregnant. In this case, our doctors will order other diagnostic tests, as X-rays are unsafe for the fetus.

During the exam, you may have to wear a lead apron to protect your major internal organs from radiation.

Let the Doctors at Our Atlanta Injury Center Diagnose Your Injuries!

Accurate treatment of your injuries starts with detailed imaging tests. At our Atlanta injury center, you will find a team of experienced doctors and modern medical devices which will produce clear images of your injuries. You will receive the best treatment and make a full recovery.

Call 1-800-HURT911 after your accident to let our doctors start preparing you for imaging tests!