Radiology and Imaging FAQ

Does my doctor need to order my examination?

Yes. Our department requires a written referral (sometimes called a requisition, order or request) from a physician for imaging examinations. This is similar to the requirements for patients to obtain prescription drugs or other doctor-ordered patient care items.

Do I need an appointment?

It depends on the examination. Outpatient plain films (for example, chest X-rays, or bone films like ankles or wrists) are performed on a walk-in basis at our outpatient sites such as East Ann Arbor, Briarwood or the Taubman Center (attached to University Hospital). More specialized examinations are performed by appointment, including mammography (breast imaging), gastrointestinal examinations (such as upper GI series or barium enema), genitourinary examinations (such as an IVP), and ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

What paperwork should I bring with me?

Most outpatients should bring the written request (sometimes called "the order" or "the referral") from their doctor. (Sometimes these requests are sent ahead to the radiology department, especially for examinations scheduled in advance by appointment.) If you received any appointment slips or patient preparation instructions, bring these along, too.

It is also advisable to bring a list of your current medications (or you can bring the medications themselves) and any information you may have about any allergies you may have. (Information on medicines and allergies is not needed for simple X-rays like a chest X-ray or an ankle film, but sometimes patients do not realize they are really scheduled for more complicated studies like a chest CT. If in doubt, bring the information.)

Do I need any special preparation for my test?

You should be told about any special preparation when your examination is scheduled. This information may also be sent to you in the mail. You can review a list of preparations for various outpatient examinations on our web page under Patient Instructions. Preparation for inpatients occurs in the hospital, ordered by your doctor, and hospital nurses will direct you in the preparation.

Typical examinations requiring special patient preparation include:

  • Most ultrasound, CT and MR scans
  • Special procedures, angiography, neuroradiology, myelography, and interventional examinations
  • Most GI and GU examinations including IVP (intravenous pyelogram, intravenous urogram), studies of the esophagus, stomach (upper GI) and colon (barium enema)
  • Mammography (breast imaging)
  • Many Nuclear Medicine studies

Do I need to be registered in the U-M Hospitals?

Yes. You will need a U-M Hospitals registration number and ID card. If you do not have one, allow extra time before your appointment to be registered.

Will my insurance cover this test?

Coverage for imaging tests is variable and depends on your insurance carrier, your plan, any exclusions and sometimes the indications for the examination. We are not able to interpret your policy. Please check with your insurance company.