ERAD Radiology

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Read our FAQs to help prepare you for your procedure.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Have you ever had an MRI Scan before? Please read our frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your scan.  

While MRIs and CT scans can produce similar types of images, the MRI is generally considered more powerful. MRIs use magnetic fields instead of X-rays, which means you’re not exposed to any radiation. But MRIs can take longer and cost more.

Although MRIs are known as the more powerful device, a CT scan can capture better images of certain parts of the body. CT scanning is considered the best choice for lung imaging, while MRIs are more effective in orthopaedic situations, such as a knee MRI, foot MRI, or shoulder MRI. MRIs are also often used to clarify ambiguous results from CT scans.

Some pacemakers, cochlear implants, piercings, and other metal implants can interfere with the MRI, so be sure to let your doctor know before your appointment. The exception to this is fillings, which do not seem to have any effect on MRI results. ERAD will ensure that your device is MRI safe before scheduling your appointment.

MRIs can last anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes.

Radiologists need time to examine your images and compare them with your medical records and any previous images in your file. They typically have results within 48 hours, at which point they send their findings to the referring physician who will contact you to discuss them.

MRIs can be loud when running, and a closed MRI puts you in a tight, confined space where you cannot move. The experience can be stressful for some, but there will be an intercom in the machine so you can talk with your Radiographer at any point during the scan.

Not really. You can eat normally and take your medicine before your MRI exam, unless your doctor instructs otherwise. You will be asked to remove all objects that contain metal such as jewellery, eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, because the powerful magnetic field of the MR system will pull them out which can injure you or harm the machine.

An MRI scan can help determine what is causing your problem and help your doctor to find the best treatment for you.

It provides far more detailed pictures of your body than an ordinary x-ray. It’s particularly good at identifying problems in the spine, brain and in the joints. It is also helpful for looking at other parts of the body. Unlike X-rays and CT (computerised tomography) scans, MRI scans do not use radiation.

MRI is a very safe procedure for most patients. However, some pacemakers and certain other surgical implants, for example a cochlear implant, cannot be scanned. You will be asked to complete and sign a safety questionnaire before your scan to make sure it is safe for you to be scanned.

The worldwide health guidelines recommend we don’t scan pregnant women unless the scan is clinically urgent. The doctor who refers you for the scan and the radiologist will decide the necessity of your scan. 

Many pregnant women have had MRI scans with no reported problems. If you would like further information, please speak to your treating doctor.

We can often substitute a MRI scan with a CT scan or an ultrasound scan, but not in all circumstances.

Depending on the area we’re scanning, we may need to inject contrast dye. The Radiographer will ask you questions and ask you to give consent for the dye to be injected. The dye shows up on the scan and gives us more detailed pictures, particularly of your blood vessels. The injection will be given by inserting a small needle into a vein in your arm or your hand.

We will ask you to change into a hospital gown. You will need to take off all your jewellery, for example earrings, watch, rings. If we are scanning your head, you will need to remove any dentures that contain metal. Dental fillings will not affect the scan. Hairclips and wigs must also be removed if they contain metal. You will be given a lockable locker to store all your belongings safely.

Before the scan, you will be given the opportunity to ask the Radiographer any questions you have.

We will ask you to lie on the scanner bed and try to get comfortable. You will need to keep very still during the scan as movement could cause the pictures to blur and the scan will need to be repeated. Once you are positioned correctly, we will move you into the scanner – the part of your body that we are scanning must be in the centre of the machine. For scans of the chest or abdomen, you may be asked to hold your breath for a short while.

When the scanner is working, it makes a loud banging noise. We’ll give you headphones or earplugs to wear to reduce the noise. The sound tones will change as the examination progresses but you get accustomed to it quickly. You’ll also be given a buzzer to press if you need to speak to the Radiographer during your scan.

It depends on which part of your body is being scanned and the information your doctor needs. The Radiographer will tell you how long they expect your scan to take. Most scans take between 30minutes and 1 hour per region.

The scan should be completely painless. The most difficult part is keeping still. Make sure you are as comfortable as possible before we start and try to relax. The scanner is a short tunnel, so if you get claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) please let us know before you come for your scan.

The Radiographer will talk to you during the scan to let you know what is happening. If you are particularly anxious, a friend or relative can stay in the room during the scan.

As soon as the scan is finished, you can go home, or back to your ward if you’re staying in the hospital. You can eat and drink as normal and resume your usual activities.The pictures taken during the scan are then carefully studied by the Radiologist who will produce a detailed report.

The MRI Radiographer (member of the radiology team trained to carry out MRI scans) will ask you if you’re happy for the scan to go ahead. This is called verbal consent and may only involve the Radiographer checking you’re booked for the correct scan.

If you don’t wish to have the scan or are undecided, please tell the radiographer. It’s your decision and you can change your mind at any time but not having the scan can delay your diagnosis. Please remember that you can ask the Radiographer any questions you have at any time before, during or after your scan.

Computer Tomography (CT)

Learn more about CT scans by reviewing our frequently asked questions.

An IV contrast helps our radiologists identify and characterise certain diseases. Contrast is injected through a vein in your arm and shows up as bright on a CT image. It’s so useful that in certain studies, such as abdominal CTs, it is almost always used.

Some patients are allergic to iodinated contrast (which is used in IVPs). Please alert your doctor and radiographer if you have had an allergic reaction to contrast before. We can give medication to prevent a repeat reaction. If you have an allergic reaction during the exam, our radiologists are prepared to deal with the situation.

For emergencies, we’ll contact your doctor after completing your examination. Your doctor will have a report mailed within 2 hours and have the official typed report within 24 hours. Your referring doctor will discuss the results with you and any treatment you may need.

It depends. Some can take less than five minutes; others can take 30 minutes or longer. On average, it takes between 15 and 20 minutes. We try our best to run on time, but there are occasionally emergencies which we need to attend to immediately. Under these circumstances, your appointment could be delayed, but we will let you know.

The oral contrast can cause you to have more frequent bowel movements, but it shouldn’t cause diarrhoea.

Usually not, although portions of certain exams are uncomfortable. For example, contrast requires the insertion of a needle into a vein. When injected, it can make you feel warm through your chest and head, but this feeling rapidly disappears. The most uncomfortable part is keeping still. Try to relax as much as possible. If you find it uncomfortable to lie still, please tell the Radiographer.

The radiation dose varies with the part of the body being imaged. Every effort is made to limit the amount of radiation exposure you receive. 

Metal fastenings like zips, poppers, hooks, and eyes will show up on the scan, so we may ask you to change into a hospital gown. Head coverings, hair bands, grips, and earrings will also need to be removed for head scans. You may need to remove any metallic dentures or hearing aids for certain scans. Dental fillings will not affect the scan.

No. Barium sulphate is totally unrelated to sulfa medicines. It can be safely ingested regardless of allergies.

An MRI uses a strong magnetic field for imaging; a CT scanner uses X-rays. Both are powerful tools for imaging. An MRI is better for imaging the knee, whereas a CT scan is better for imaging the lungs. The two are complementary in many parts of the body. For example, it is not unusual for a CT of the liver to show an abnormality and then an MRI to help further characterise it.

Fluoroscopy FAQs

Learn more about our X-ray imaging procedure by reading the frequently asked questions provided.  

Yes, you can take your medicine with small sips of water prior to a fluoroscopy examination.

The radiation dose varies with the type of exam, but it is low. Every effort is made to limit the amount of radiation exposure you receive.

Most  exams do not hurt, although there can be some discomfort. For example, an IVP requires the insertion of a needle into a vein.

We really don’t know. A small percentage of patients have an allergic reaction to iodinated contrast (which is used in IVPs). If you have had an allergic reaction to the contrast in the past, please alert your doctor. In this case, we can give you medication to prevent a repeat reaction. If you have an allergic reaction during the exam, our radiologists are equipped to deal with the situation swiftly.

No. Barium is inert and will pass harmlessly through your system with your next bowel movement.

Barium can cause constipation, so we encourage you to increase your fluid intake.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) FAQs

Are you scheduled for an Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) X-ray soon? For ease of mind, please read our frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your procedure.  

A hysterosalpingogram or HSG is an X-ray procedure used to see whether the fallopian tubes are patent (open) and if the inside of the uterus (uterine cavity) is normal. HSG is an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than 5 minutes. It’s typically done after you’ve menstruated but before ovulation.

You will be positioned under a fluoroscope (an X-ray imager that can take pictures during the study) on a table. The gynaecologist or radiologist will examine your uterus and insert a speculum in your vagina. Your cervix is cleaned, and a device (cannula) is placed into the opening of the cervix. 

The doctor gently fills the uterus with a liquid containing iodine (a fluid that can be seen by X-ray) through the cannula. The contrast shows up as white on the image. It shows the contour of the uterus as the liquid travels from the cannula, into the uterus, and through the fallopian tubes. As the contrast enters the tubes, it outlines the length of the tubes and spills out their ends if they are open.

It can cause mild or moderate uterine cramping for about 5-10 minutes. However, some women experience cramps for several hours. These symptoms can be greatly reduced by taking medications used for menstrual cramps before the procedure or when they occur. We advise that you organise someone to drive you home after the procedure in the event you experience cramping.

It is controversial whether this procedure enhances fertility. Some studies show a slight increase in fertility lasting about 3 months after a normal HSG. However, most doctors perform HSG only for diagnostic reasons.

While HSG is considered a very safe procedure, there is a set of recognised complications which occur in less than 1% of patients. 

  • Infection of the pelvis. 
  • Some women can feel light-headed and faint, but this isn’t common.  
  • Mild radiation exposure, nothing to worry about.  
  • Some women are allergic to Iodine but the radiographer is equipped to handle this.  
  • Spotting – 1-2 days after HSG.

If your tubes are blocked, your doctor will likely recommend a surgical procedure to directly view the tubes (laparoscopy) or bypass the tubes and perform in vitro fertilisation (IVF). This is a complex decision that should be discussed with your doctor.

Laparoscopy can determine if your tubes are open, using a procedure called chromopertubation. Or you could request a sonohysterosalpingogram (SHG). For SHG, a catheter (narrow tube) is placed in the uterus through the vagina, and saline and air are injected. In women who have open fallopian tubes, tiny air bubbles may be seen going through the fallopian tubes during the ultrasound. That said, HSG delivers better results when assessing tubal patency

Ultrasound FAQs

Wanting to find out more about Ultrasounds before your procedure? View the frequently asked questions below for more information. 

An ultrasound scan can help your doctor or specialist diagnose your medical condition. It’s also used to monitor an existing medical condition. Your referring doctor or our radiologists typically decides if you’d benefit from having an ultrasound scan.

An ultrasound is a very safe procedure for anyone undergoing a diagnostic test. There are no side effects. The sonographer or radiologist can scan for as long as is necessary to provide the information needed.

Depending on your signs and symptoms, you could be referred for a CT scan or MRI scan. If there is a more suitable examination, our radiologist will contact your referring professional to inform them.

An ultrasound does not hurt. The sonographer/radiologist needs to examine you in the correct position and gently press down on the probe to get a good view. For some people, this may be uncomfortable. If you feel uncomfortable, please inform the sonographer or radiologist so that they can make suitable adjustments.

This depends on which part of your body is being scanned and the information your referring doctor needs. Scans can take between 10 and 30 minutes. Occasionally, a second opinion is needed, increasing the exam time. You should allow at least one hour in the ultrasound department. While we try to avoid delays, we sometimes need to attend to emergencies occurring elsewhere in the hospital. Please allow extra time just in case.

We will send your results to your doctor immediately after the scan. You don’t have to wait for them. If you are staying in the hospital, we will send your results to the admitting doctor looking after you in the ward.

Bone Density FAQs

Are you scheduled for a Bone Density scan? Learn more about this imaging test by reviewing our frequently asked questions.

We recommend that patients receive a Bone Density Scan at least every two years. In certain situations, such as patients taking Fosamax to prevent bone loss, it may be appropriate to have a study every year.

The first investigators to use the Bone Density scanner chose to scan the left hip and lumbar spine because they have different amounts of cortical bone (bone on the surface) and cancellous bone (bone on the inside).

All patients are scanned in these two regions unless some problem precludes looking at these areas to ensure uniformity in reporting.

Calcium supplements may not be completely absorbed if taken close to the time of the Bone Density Scan. The calcium can overlie the lower spine and falsely increase the density in this region. That’s why we ask you to avoid taking calcium supplements prior to a bone scan.

No. You will be lying comfortably on your back. A small sensor will pass over your lower spine and left hip.

Mammography FAQs

Is this your first mammogram? To put you at ease, read our frequently asked questions. It covers everything you need to know and expect during your visit to ERAD.

You should avoid using deodorants or powders on the day of the examination. These products contain ingredients that can cause a false positive reading on your mammogram. 

Notify your doctor and the radiographer if you are breastfeeding or if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. The radiographer will ask you to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a gown. You may be asked to remove certain types of jewellery as they may interfere with the examination. 

If you’ve had a prior mammogram elsewhere, please have those images sent to our facility so that we may compare them to your current examination.

The radiographer will carefully position your breast on an X-ray plate for each picture. You may be asked to lift your arm or use your hand to hold your other breast out of the way. Once positioned, a second X-ray plate will come down, compressing and flattening the breast tissue. 

While this may be uncomfortable, it’s the most accurate way to capture an image of the breast tissue. You’ll need to stay perfectly still and hold your breath as the picture is taken. This limits motion, thereby preventing the image from blurring. Usually, two pictures are taken of each breast. One is a top view, the other a side view.

If you’re having a routine annual mammogram (and have no current problems or breast complaints), the radiographer will have you wait a few minutes after your pictures have been taken. 

Once the pictures have developed and they are of good quality, the radiographer will release you, and you can go home or back to work. The radiologist will now interpret your images. If there are any new findings, they may want to do a follow-up mammogram and, possibly, an ultrasound of your breast. If this occurs, you will be called as soon as possible by our office to book a follow-up appointment. 

Don’t be alarmed. This is standard procedure.  

If you’re coming in for a diagnostic mammogram (to assess a breast complaint) or returning for additional images, the radiologist may want to perform a physical examination of your breasts. You will be notified of the results of a diagnostic mammogram before you leave our facility.

Once the radiologist has viewed your mammogram, a report will be sent to your doctor. They will contact you to explain your results. We will also mail you a letter stating your mammogram results.

Our resident radiologists interpret all ERAD mammograms.

A mammogram is far more powerful than an Ultrasound. It can detect signs of early breast cancer far better than an ultrasound. We use ultrasound as a problem-solving tool. It typically follows an abnormal mammogram screening.

There is a small risk of your breast implant rupturing during the mammogram. You will be given a form to sign which discusses this risk. Most women choose to have a mammogram because the risk of breast cancer outweighs the risk of implant rupture.

We compress the breast so that you don’t move. Motion can degrade mammograms, similar to the way movement can ruin photographs. Compression also spreads out the breast tissue, which aids in finding small breast cancers. Compressing your breast is essential for acquiring high-quality mammograms.

The official typed report is mailed within 24-48 hours. However, if your prior studies are not available, we may delay reading your mammogram until the old studies are received. If your mammogram has a significant finding requiring further evaluation, you will be called by our office to schedule the necessary additional examinations.

We only call you back if there is a suspicious finding on a mammogram. These suspicious findings are almost always of no cause for alarm. Occasionally, we’ll refer you for an MRI or biopsy. If you receive a phone call saying you need additional images or an ultrasound, do not be alarmed; just make an appointment as soon as possible. We will discuss the results of your other images and ultrasound before you leave the centre.

Prior studies are beneficial when reading mammograms. Every woman has a unique breast tissue pattern, as seen on a mammogram. Almost every mammogram has an area that catches the eye of the radiologist. Many of these areas are likely present in prior studies. Because of this, we will often delay reading mammograms until the old studies are retrieved.

At ERAD, all our machines are state-of-the-art and comply with the high standards established in the Mammography Quality Standard Act (MQSA).

The radiation dose is small. Our machines are checked yearly by qualified technicians to limit the amount of radiation exposure you receive.

Deodorants can cause artefacts to show up as tiny white spots on mammography images. These spots mimic suspicious calcifications. For this reason, if you accidentally wear deodorant, you may be asked to remove it prior to the study.

Calcification is the build-up of unusual amounts of calcium in your organs, body tissue and blood vessels. Calcium is found in your bones, and some other areas of the body. 

Tiny calcium deposits are commonly found in breast tissue, called breast calcification. Most calcifications are benign and can be safely ignored. Some are suspicious and require a biopsy. Our radiologists are experts at identifying benign calcifications and deciding which should be biopsied.

Contact Us

How can we help you?

For general queries, please contact our Walvis Bay branch or complete the enquiry form. Alternatively, you can go to our Contact Us page for more information.

*All personal information shared with ERAD will not be shared, and will remain confidential and used only for its intended purpose. 


    Contact Us

    How can we help you?

    For all general queries, please contact our Walvis Bay branch or complete the enquiry form. Alternatively, you can go to our Contact Us page for more information.

    *All personal information shared with ERAD will not be shared, and will remain confidential and used only for its intended purpose. 

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