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Covenant Health is an innovative, Catholic regional delivery network and a leader in values based, not-for-profit health and elder care. We sponsor hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living residences and other health and elder care organizations throughout New England.

X-Ray/Radiology Frequently Asked Questions

Q- Why are other people in the waiting room taken before me when I may have registered before they did? 

A- The waiting area for the Imaging Services Department holds patients for all areas of service within the Department (Diagnostic, CT scanning, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Angiography/Special Procedures, PET etc.). Some of these patients have scheduled appointments in one of these areas and are being taken in at their scheduled appointment time. In addition, Emergency Room (ER) patients must always be taken ahead of out-patients. So, it is likely that patients taken first either have a scheduled exam, or are patients from the ER that have been waiting and must receive priority.

Q- Why do I need a Physician’s order for an X-ray or other Imaging Services exam?

A- The law requires a written order for ALL imaging exams. Patients should be evaluated by their physician prior to any imaging examination so that the proper body part may be imaged appropriately.

Q- Why can’t I eat or drink anything prior to my x-ray or imaging procedure? 

A- For general x-ray exams (i.e., chest, hands, feet, and spine.) patients may eat or drink prior to the exam. For all other imaging procedures that require patients to not eat or drink, the reason is usually because the procedure is best performed on an empty stomach. There are specific exams that may require the administration of contrast, and in these circumstances the patient needs to have an empty stomach. Please refer to the Preparation Instructions for the exam.

Q- How long does the x-ray exam or procedure take?

A- The amount of time depends on the imaging exam performed. Most general x-ray exams take no more than 15 minutes. The contrast related procedures take approximately 30 minutes, unless told otherwise.

Q- How much risk is associated with having a routine x-ray exam? 

A- The amount of radiation is extremely low and is comparable to the amount of radiation received during a roundtrip flight from New York City to Los Angeles and back.

St. Mary's Health System • 93 Campus Avenue • Lewiston, ME 04240