Uncertainty about health issues can be very worrying. Having symptoms and not knowing the cause or what they mean often leaves you feeling helpless. Fortunately, advances in technology and examination techniques have made diagnostic testing more effective and reliable than ever before, thereby helping reduce the stress associated with a condition, illness or injury. 

This does not mean, of course, that diagnostic procedures aren’t anxiety producing on their own. Many are, especially those that involve imaging such as an MRI or CT scan. Even an X-ray can be somewhat traumatic if you aren’t adequately prepared. As a health care provider that offers a full-range of diagnostic imaging services, Derry Imaging is sensitive to the discomfort you might be experiencing in anticipation of your upcoming examination. We are, therefore, happy to offer some tips on how to get ready for your next imaging procedure. 

Before we get into some specifics, a general word of caution: Stay calm. No matter what procedure you are about to undergo, know that there is nothing you can do about it until it happens. Getting wound up ahead of time does not serve you. In fact, your stress may actually be counterproductive, both by making you feel worse and by potentially impacting your ability to fully submit yourself to the exam (such as staying relaxed and absolutely still throughout the course of an MRI). 

Full details regarding how to get ready for imaging exams are available on our Derry Imaging website. The following are some practical things you should know when it comes to how to get ready for several common procedures:


There is no real preparation necessary for X-rays and they are usually quick and painless. However, be sure to advise your doctor if you are pregnant or have any metal screws, plates or other hardware in your body (such as an insulin pump).

CT Scan

Perhaps most importantly, you should inform your physician if you are or suspect you may be pregnant because these examinations are usually not administered during pregnancy. You should also inform your doctor if you have previously experienced an allergic reaction/noticeable discomfort to contrasting agents (note that not all CT scans require an IV contrast).

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

As is the case with most imaging examinations, advising your doctor of potential pregnancy issues is a must. Knowing how to get ready for an MRI depends on the condition or illness your exam is intended to diagnose. In general, there are no restrictions on eating, drinking or taking your medications prior to the exam. An MRI of your liver is an exception and you will need to refrain from eating and drinking for at least 6 yours prior to the time of the exam. In addition, if you have aneurysm clips, an artificial heart valve, bullets, a cardiac pacemaker, eye/orbits prosthesis, a hip or knee prosthesis, an insulin pump or any number of other things in your body you must inform your doctor so that they can be reviewed by the technologist and radiologist prior to your scan. Otherwise, the scan itself may not be safe.

Nuclear Cardiac Testing (Lexiscan)

This type of exam has several things you should know about in order to get ready for it including:

  • No food or drink at least 6 hours prior
  • Do not take morning diabetic medication
    • If you take insulin, only 1/2 of the normal dosage is recommended
  • No caffeine in any form for 12 hours prior to the test (includes non-caffeine products such as decaf coffee, diet pills, etc.)
  • Take all blood pressure medications
  • No ED medications
  • Review all other prescription medications with your doctor.  

No matter what imaging procedure you need, Derry Imaging can help. They can even help reduce your out-of-pocket costs, saving you 40-70% on your exam compared to hospitals and other imaging centers. If you would like to learn more about Derry Imaging, click below.