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FAQ

General FAQ | MRI FAQ | PET/CT FAQ | Diagnostic CT FAQ | Digital X-Ray FAQ | DEXA FAQ

General FAQ

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

Yes. All procedures at Hawaii Advanced Imaging are performed under doctor’s orders, so a referral from your physician is usually required.

Do I need an appointment?

Yes. To ensure each patient receives quality care, all procedures are performed by appointment only. When your doctor orders a procedure we do our best to schedule your appointment that day or the day after to make it as convenient as possible for you.

Is my procedure covered by insurance?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging accepts most health insurance and workers compensation plans, and helps complete all of the paperwork for you. The level of coverage depends on the procedure and type of insurance. To find out if your procedure is covered by insurance, contact your insurance company or call us at (808) 591-1504.

What should I bring with me to my exam?

To make your visit as easy as possible, you should bring the following with you:

  • Written orders from your doctor
  • Identification card (Driver’s license or State ID)
  • Health insurance card

How do I prepare for my exam?

Your doctor may provide you with a list of special instructions for preparing for your procedure. Certain procedures require specific preparation. Click here for typical preparations for each procedure, call your physician, or call us at (808) 591-1504.

Are your doctors and technicians specially trained?

All Hawaii Advanced Imaging staff are highly trained and meet or exceed local, state and federal training and certification requirements.

  • American College of Radiology accredited facility
  • American Board of Radiology certified radiologists and technicians
  • Subspecialty trained and certified radiologists

What happens after my procedure?

One of our subspecialty-trained and experienced radiologists will interpret and analyze your results and prepare a report for your doctor. The report is sent directly to your doctor, who will share the results with you.

When will my doctor receive my results?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging offers a 24-hour turnaround time on all interpretations with wet reads available in an hour or less, and a medical director available at all times to review cases with referring physician.

MRI FAQ

What is MRI?

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) exams are among the most advanced medical imaging procedures. Ideal for identifying and aiding in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, MRI exams provide detailed images of soft tissue and organs that are not easily seen through other types of imaging procedures.

How does MRI work?

MRI exams use a magnetic field and radio frequencies to generate detailed anatomical and functional images using a powerful computer processor, with tissue and organs shown in varying contrast levels. Our subspecialty-trained radiologists interpret the scans and work with your physician to review your case.  

Is MRI safe?

MRI scans have been performed safely successfully for more than 20 years. There are no health risks associated with the magnetic field or radio waves. However, MRI exams are not for everyone. If you have metallic/surgical implants or any of the following conditions please notify your physician or technologist prior to the exam to make sure an MRI scan is right for you. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Aneurysm clips in the brain
  • Implanted spinal cord stimulator
  • Inner ear (cochlear) implants
  • Metal fragments in one or both eyes
  • Metallic implants
  • Pacemaker

Also, please alert our staff if you:

  • Have dental bridges
  • Wear a hearing aid(s)
  • Have ever been a metal worker
  • Are pregnant or think you might be

What if I am claustrophobic?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging Institute offers one of the only 3.0T OPEN MRI machines in Hawaii, which provides more space for claustrophobic patients or larger patients who are unable to fit into a traditional MRI machine. Traditional MRI machines are open at both ends, whereas our OPEN MRI is open on all sides and has a larger bore (opening).

Can children receive an MRI exam?

Yes, MRI scans are safe for children. Some children need medication to help them relax and stay still during the exam. Hawaii Advanced Imaging staff will work with your doctor to provide the appropriate medicine, if it is necessary. A parent or adult must stay with the child during the exam.

Should I take my medications the day of my MRI exam?

You may take your daily medications, unless otherwise instructed by your physician.

Can I eat and drink before my MRI exam?

You may eat and drink before your exam, unless otherwise instructed by your physician.

How should I dress for my MRI exam?

We ask that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without metal buttons or zippers. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for image quality and safety reasons. For your convenience, we provide a locker to store your keys, jewelry and other valuables during the exam

When should I arrive for my MRI exam?

You should arrive 20-30 minutes before your exam to provide time for our staff to greet you, help you fill out any necessary paperwork, and have you change into a gown, if necessary.

Will I receive contrast for my MRI exam?

Some MRI studies require contrast, which is a fluid injected through a vein that appears brighter on your MRI image to help our radiologists identify certain diseases. Not all MRI procedures require the use of contrast. Check with your doctor or call us at (808) 591-1504 to find out if you will receive contrast for your exam.

What happens during the MRI exam?

A technologist will escort you into the exam room and help you get comfortable on a padded table. You will have the option to enjoy multi-media goggles and headphones to watch a DVD or listen to music on an iPod or CD. You are welcome to bring your own DVD or music, or select from one of our options.  

To achieve clear images, it is important to you lie very still and you may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time. You will hear some humming, buzzing and/or tapping sounds while the exam is conducted. You will not feel anything except for a light vibration.

How long will my MRI exam take?

The actual scan portion of the exam takes only a few minutes, but each exam is made up of a sequence of scans that vary from study to study. Most scans will average 25 – 40 minutes.

What happens after my MRI exam?

There are no lasting affects from an MRI exam. You may move around and drive immediately after your procedure.

One of our subspecialty-trained radiologists will interpret and analyze your results and prepare a report for your doctor. The report is sent directly to your doctor, who will share the results with you.

PET/CT FAQ

What is a PET/CT scan?

PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a powerful diagnostic tool that, in many cases, renders answers that no other imaging test can provide. Used in conjunction with CT (Computed Tomography) imaging or on its own, PET is a non-invasive procedure that helps physicians in their diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases. PET imaging can reveal metabolic changes in your body that will be further examined by your physician.

PET/CT represents the next level of diagnostic imaging power for oncology. PET detects metabolic signals in the body while CT provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy, revealing the location, size, and shape of cellular activity.

Alone, each imaging test is effective for a wide variety of applications. But when the results of PET and CT scans are “fused” together, the combined image provides complete information on cancer location and metabolism.

What is the purpose of a PET/CT scan?

Most common applications of PET are in the fields of oncology and neurology.

ONCOLOGY (cancer) is the most important application of PET/CT and provides vital diagnostic information that can alter the course of cancer treatment and sometimes help in avoiding unwarranted surgery. PET and/or PET/CT provides critical information about whether a tumor is malignant or not; the extent of cancer; whether it has spread to other organs or not; monitoring of cancer recurrences; and monitoring the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

For NEUROLOGY (brain), PET provides accurate information to localize the areas of the brain causing epileptic seizures and to determine if surgery is an option. PET can also be used as an imaging method for such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease.

What should I expect when I arrive?

When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked to fill out some paperwork prior to the scan. Then our technologist will escort you to an area where you will receive an IV line that infuses a radiopharmaceutical.

After the injection, you will be escorted to one of our quiet private rooms complete with a comfortable recliner to relax for one hour. Once you’re completely relaxed, our technologist will take you to the scanner where you’ll be on the table for about 30 – 45 minutes. The scan itself causes no pain and our staff will be by your side to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. The entire process of getting a PET/CT exam usually takes 1½ to 2 hours.

How do I prepare for the exam?

ALLERGIES: Notify your physician of any allergies before the exam.

PREGNANCY: Be sure to inform your physician if you are pregnant.

EATING: A special diet is required the day before the exam. If your PET/CT scan is before 12:30 pm, the last meal should be no later than 9:00 pm the night before the exam. If your PET/CT scan is after 12:30 pm, the last meal should be no later than 6:00 am the day of the scan.

During your last meal before the exam, do not eat any carbohydrates or starches (rice, potatoes, breads, pastas, fruits, vegetables, etc.). Please eat protein (beef, chicken, eggs, pork, fish) only. A low blood sugar level is essential for a successful scan. Also, please refrain from exercising or hard labor 24 hours prior to your scan. You can drink water anytime before the exam.

MEDICATIONS: We will ask what medication you take when you schedule your appointment. You will be provided further instructions at that time. If you feel you will need sedation or area diabetic, contact us for further instructions prior to your scheduled appointment.

ACTIVITY DURING THE EXAM: After the injection, it is important that you be in a quiet, resting state while relaxing in your private room. When you lie down on the scanner, it is extremely important that you stay still throughout the exam.

How long will my PET/CT scan take?

The entire process of getting a PET/CT exam usually takes 1½ to 2 hours.

What happens after my PET/CT scan?

It is important that you drink water and empty your bladder often for the rest of the day. This will result in a more rapid clearance of radioactivity from your body. You can drive and resume normal activities immediately after leaving the department, unless you have received sedation.

When will I get my results?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging offers a 24-hour turnaround time on all interpretations. The final results will be given to your referring physician as soon as the images are interpreted and analyzed by one of our subspecialty-trained radiologists. Your doctor will share the results with you.

Will my insurance cover the exam?

Many insurance companies are reimbursing for some PET procedures, including Medicare. Please contact your insurer directly to learn about payment reimbursement.

Diagnostic CT FAQ

What is a CT scan?

A computed tomography (CT) scan, also known as a computer axial tomography (CAT) scan, is a non-invasive procedure that uses targeted x-rays with the aid of a computer to create detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. Iodine-based contrast material is sometimes used to help in identifying normal and abnormal functions.

What is the purpose of a Diagnostic CT scan?

A CT scan is used to create multi-dimensional images of the inside of the body, including organs, blood vessels and tissues. A Diagnostic CT scan is frequently used to evaluate the brain, neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis and sinuses.

How do I prepare for the exam?

ALLERGIES: Notify your physician of any allergies before the exam.

PREGNANCY: Be sure to inform your physician if you are pregnant.

EATING: A special diet may be required the day before the exam. If your CT scan is before 12:30 pm, the last meal should be no later than 9:00 pm the night before the exam. If your CT scan is after 12:30 pm, the last meal should be no later than 6:00 am the day of the scan.

During your last meal before the exam, do not eat any carbohydrates or starches (rice, potatoes, breads, pastas, fruits, vegetables, etc.). Please eat protein (beef, chicken, eggs, pork, fish) only. A low blood sugar level may be necessary for a successful scan. Also, please refrain from exercising or hard labor 24 hours prior to your scan. You can drink water anytime before the exam.

MEDICATIONS: We will ask what medication you take when you schedule your appointment. You will be provided further instructions at that time. If you feel you will need sedation or area diabetic, contact us for further instructions prior to your scheduled appointment.

When should I arrive for my MRI exam?

You should arrive 20-30 minutes before your exam to provide time for our staff to greet you and help you fill out any necessary paperwork.

What should I expect when I arrive?

When you arrive, you will be greeted by our staff who will direct you to complete any necessary paperwork and have you change into a gown, if necessary. One of our friendly technologists will guide you to the examination room and assist you in lying down on a padded, motorized examination table that is attached to a machine with a donut-hole-looking opening.

Once you are positioned and comfortable, the motorized table will slowly move into the donut hole and the images will be taken in sequence. After each image is taken, the table will adjust slightly. You must lie still and may be asked to hold your breath while the images are taken to achieve the best results.

During the scan, the technician will be out of the room and communicate with you through an intercom. If the patient is a child, a parent or adult will be allowed to be in the room, but will be asked to wear a lead apron to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure.

The scan is painless, but some patients experience slight discomfort from staying still for a period of time. A mile sedative is available for patients who need it.

How long will my Diagnostic CT scan take?

A typical Diagnostic CT scan take 15-30 minutes.

What happens after my Diagnostic CT scan?

There are no lasting affects from a Diagnostic CT exam. You may move around and drive immediately after your procedure.

When will I get my results?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging offers a 24-hour turnaround time on all interpretations. The final results will be given to your referring physician as soon as the images are interpreted and analyzed by one of our subspecialty-trained radiologists. Your doctor will share the results with you.

Digital X-Ray FAQ

What is the difference between a digital and traditional (analog) x-ray?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging’s advanced digital x-ray equipment enables faster scan processing and requires less radiation than conventional x-ray (radiography) machines.

How is the procedure performed?

One of our friendly technologists will position you on the x-ray table and place the x-ray digital recording plate under the table in the area of the body being imaged. A lead apron may be placed over your pelvic or chest area, when feasible, to protect from radiation.

To achieve the clearest image possible, you should hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath while the x-ray image is taken. Once you are in the correct position, our technologist will activate the x-ray machine.

Depending on the type of scan(s) your physician requested, you may be repositioned for another view and the process will be repeated. Two or three images (from different angles) will be taken around a joint (knee, elbow or wrist).

How long will my x-ray exam take?

A bone x-ray examination is usually completed within 5-10 minutes.

What happens after my x-ray exam?

There are no lasting affects from an x-ray exam. You may move around and drive immediately after your procedure.

When will I get my results?

Hawaii Advanced Imaging offers a 24-hour turnaround time on all interpretations. The final results will be given to your referring physician as soon as the images are interpreted and analyzed by one of our subspecialty-trained radiologists. Your doctor will share the results with you.

DEXA FAQ

What is the purpose of a DEXA test?

Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DEXA is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density.

DEXA is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, as well as structural changes, that causes bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.

How does a DEXA test work?

A DEXA scan works by measuring the amount of x-rays that are absorbed by your bones. Two types of x-rays are emitted by the DEXA scanner – one type absorbed by soft tissue and the other by bone – and are used to accurately calculate your bone density.

Is a DEXA test safe?

DEXA scans have been used safely for many years to calculate bone density. The amount of radiation absorbed through a DEXA test is substantially lower than that of a traditional x-ray of the chest.

How should I prepare for my DEXA test?

On the day of the exam you may eat normally. However, you should not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam.

You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. Objects such as keys or wallets that would be in the area being scanned should be removed.

You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, dentures, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.

Inform your physician if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contract material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope scan. You may have to wait 10 to 14 days before undergoing a DEXA test.

You should inform your physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to any radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the fetus.

What should I expect when I arrive?

When you arrive, you will be greeted by our staff who will direct you to complete any necessary paperwork. One of our friendly staff members will then guide you to the examination room.

How is the procedure performed?

This examination is usually done on an outpatient basis.

If you are having a Central DEXA examination, which measures bone density in the hip and spine, you will lie on a padded table with an x-ray generator located below and an imaging device, or detector, positioned above.

If you are having a spinal assessment, your legs will be supported on a padded box to flatten the pelvis and lower (lumbar) spine. To assess the hip, your foot will be placed in a brace that rotates the hip inward. In both cases, the detector is slowly passed over the area, generating images on a computer monitor.

To ensure the clearest image possible, you should hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds while the x-ray image is taken.

How long will my DEXA test take?

The DEXA bone density test is usually completed within 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the part(s) of the body being examined.