Fairfax Radiological Consultants

To Schedule an Appointment Call:

General Preparation Instructions

  • Please bring your insurance card(s), photo id and the order from your doctor with you to the appointment. Also bring any prior imaging of the same area if the exam was not performed at FRC or Inova locations.
  • Always arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time unless otherwise instructed due to different exam preparations.
  • If you plan on taking an oral sedative before your MRI, you must arrange to have someone drive you home from the exam.
  • Implanted devices – please make sure this is mentioned during scheduling.  You will need to provide the device name, model number and manufacturer to ensure safety during MRI exams.
  • Breast Imaging:
    • No powder, deodorant or lotion in the breast or underarm area
    • Wearing a two-piece outfit will make it easier for you to change
    • In Mammography, it is very important to compare to prior imaging. If done elsewhere (not at FRC or Inova facilities), please bring them with you to the appointment.
  • DXA – Bone Densitometry:
    • Discontinue calcium supplements, including antacids with calcium 24 hours prior to your exam.
    • Cannot have any imaging studies with IV contrast administered 3 days prior to the exam (CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine). Cannot have any studies with oral contrast one week prior to exam (CT, Fluoroscopy – where you drink barium/contrast).
  • CT and CT Angiography (CTA):
    • CT for kidney stones or urinary tract issues, or CTA exams do not require oral contrast. 
    • Exams without IV or oral contrast do not require any preparation.
    • CT and CTA studies with IV contrast only, no barium (oral contrast): do not eat anything 2 hours prior to the exam time. Stay well hydrated the day before the exam and drink clear fluids up until 30 minutes before the exam.
    • CT Abdomen and Pelvis with oral contrast:  Pick up barium (oral contrast) from our office.  Drink one bottle 2 hours prior to your exam time.  Drink half of the second bottle 30 minutes before your exam.  Bring the remaining half bottle with you to the appointment.  The technologist will instruct you when to finish the drink. Do not eat or drink anything else 4 hours prior to your exam time, except for the barium.
    • CT Enterography of the Abdomen and Pelvis: Nothing by mouth 6 hours prior to exam. Drink plenty of fluids the day before to be well hydrated for the exam. Check in 1.5 hours early to drink the barium (this is a special barium that patient must drink at the office). 
    • CTA Coronary: You will be given a reminder call from the CT department with your detailed preparation the day before your exam.  If you have any questions, please contact the CT department directly at 703.698.4497 for the Prosperity center and 703.858.0001 if you are scheduled at the Lansdowne location.  Of note, you may take all medications as normal except any male enhancement drugs (including females who may be taking them) which must be discontinued for 72 hours prior if taken.
    • CT Pain Management Injections (epidural, facet, or nerve block) you do not have any preparation, but you must bring someone to drive you home from the appointment.
    • CT Lumbar Puncture: You need to stop taking Blood Thinners 5 days prior to exam. Please consult with your PCP or cardiologist if you have any concerns on doing so. Patients will be asked to remain at the site for observation for one hour after appointment. You must bring someone to drive you home from the appointment.

    CT Virtual Colonoscopy – please call 703.698.4467 if you have questions Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:00pm

  • Ultrasound (Sono)
    • 1st Trimester OB, Pelvic, Renal, or Bladder ultrasound please drink 24 ounces of water one hour prior to your appt time and do not empty bladder after drinking.
    • OB 2nd and 3rd trimester – please do not empty bladder one hour prior to appt.  
    • HSN (Hysterosonogram) -if premenopausal, must be scheduled within the first 5-10 days of the menstrual cycle, after menstruation has stopped.  Please do not have unprotected intercourse from the onset of your cycle until after the exam is done. It is essential there is no chance of pregnancy before having this test done. All patients, if tolerated, may take 400 mg of ibuprofen one hour before exam.  
    • Abdomen Ultrasound, Aorta, AAA Screen, Iliac Artery, Doppler with Segmental Pressures, Renal Artery, Abdominal artery scans – please do not eat or drink anything after midnight.  You may take essential medications with water or juice and a slice of unbuttered toast if needed. Do not have any dairy products.
    • Anything else, including soft tissue, thyroid, Lymph Node Mapping, scrotal, hernia or muscle/joint related, require no special preparations. 

    We do have different preparation instructions regarding fasting or drinking water for our pediatric ultrasound patients.  Since they vary by age, if you have forgotten your child’s preparation, please call Centralized Scheduling 703.698.4488 Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, or the site your child is scheduled to be seen at:  Reston Imaging Center Monday-Friday 8am-5pm 703.481.9400 or Sterling Imaging Center 703.450.5800 Monday – Friday 8am-5pm.

    • All body piercings must be removed prior to going into the MRI room.
    • If you are taking an oral sedative to have your MRI done, you must bring someone to drive you to and from the appointment.
    • If you have any kind of implanted device, pacemaker, defibrillator etc, you will need to have your device cleared by a Safety Officer for MRI. Having an implanted device generally requires clearance for magnetic safety reasons and specialized scheduling with a representative from the manufacturer of your device on hand.  If you have an implanted device and you are not sure if you have a specialty appointment, please call our Centralized Scheduling department 703.698.4488 Monday – Friday to verify.  You can also call the location you are scheduled at and ask for verification.
    • For your comfort, any MRI study being done with IV contrast (gadolinium), we ask you not to eat or drink anything 3 hours prior to the exam.  Avoid caffeine on exams of the abdomen and pelvis with contrast. 
    • Breast MRI – should be done on days 7-14 of the menstrual cycle. A new Breast Cancer diagnosis or if you are post-menopausal, you may schedule at any time.
    • MRI Enterography –Please do not eat or drink anything 3 hours prior to your exam time. We need you to arrive at the site 90 minutes prior to your appt time to drink oral contrast.
    • MRI Prostate with endorectal coil – please do not eat or drink caffeine 4 hours prior to exam time.  Please obtain and perform a Fleet’s enema the evening before your exam.
  • PET CT
    • Please do not eat, drink (water is allowed) or chew gum 6 hours prior to the appt. You can take medications. No strenuous work or exercise for 24 hours prior. 
    • If you are Diabetic: do not eat or drink (except water) for 8 hours prior to the appt. Avoid carbohydrates 24 hours prior to procedure. Do not take insulin or oral diabetic meds the morning of the procedure.  Please bring it with you to take after the scan. 
    • If not performed at FRC or Inova Fairfax Hospital, please bring any previous PET Scans, CT or MRI images done within the last year of the area of interest.  Please do not wear any metal on your clothing (zippers, clips, etc).
  • Nuclear Medicine
    • 3 Phase and Whole Body Bone Scans – there is no preparation for this exam.  After the injection, you will be given a return scan time by the technologist anywhere from 2-4 hours later.
    • Gastric Emptying/Hida Scans – do not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to exam time. Gastric Emptying – please do not take any stomach medications the day of the exam.  Hida patients, please do not take any pain medication the day of the exam.
    • Brain Spect, VQ Lung Scans, Lung Scans (Quantitative Pulmonary Perfusion), Liver/Spleen Scans all have no preparation.

    If your test is not listed and you have specific questions, please call 703.698.4442 and ask for a nuclear medicine technologist, Monday-Friday 8am-3pm.