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FAQ

GENERAL

TECHNOLOGY

CT VS. MRI

REFERRALS

PAYMENT & FINANCING

GENERAL

How do I make an appointment at AIM?

A referral form from your doctor (General Practitioner or Specialist Physician) is required. Please print a copy of the MRI Requisition Form and fax it to 604-734-2469. This form is needed before your MRI examination to ensure safety, and to optimize the MRI scan to your unique medical situation. Please contact our office at 604-733-4007, or fill out AIM’s online booking form. If you do not have a physician, we can assist and make arrangements for you to see a family physician for assessment and follow up.

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Who interprets my MRI scan?

A radiologist, who is a physician specially trained in MRI and other radiology examinations (such as X-ray, CT, ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine), will analyze the images and provide you and your physician a signed report immediately. Radiologists at AIM Medical Imaging are Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and are licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Our radiologists are also involved with UBC internal research and academia.

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When do I receive my Results and Final Report?

After your MRI scan, you will meet our on-site radiologist, then receive a full diagnosis. We will provide your report shortly after you meet the physician. We will also provide you with a CD of your images prior to your departure. We will forward copies of your report to your doctor and/or specialist the same day.

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Are there any restrictions with the exam?

Yes. Because the MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field, which will move objects made with iron or steel, let us know if you have any of the following:

  • A pacemaker
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Cochlear implants
  • A Neuro-Stimulator (Tens-unit)
  • Metal Implants
  • Steel Surgical Staples or Clips
  • Stents
  • Valve Replacement
  • An implanted drug infusion device
  • Any implant made partially or wholly of iron or steel

Even metal objects not made of iron or steel can interfere with the exam – so don’t bring any of the following into the examination room (a secure private room to store your valuables will be provided):

  • Coins
  • Dentures or partial plates
  • Hearing aids
  • Ipod items
  • Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Mobile Cell Phone
  • Watches

Magnetic waves can also erase the code on bank cards and credit cards, please don’t bring your credit or bank cards into the MRI examination room. They should be stored in the locked change room we provide to you. Lastly if you are pregnant, you must inform us.

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How do I prepare for an MRI?

No special preparation is needed for routine MRI examinations. If you have scheduled to have your Abdomen , Pelvis or Whole Body scanned, please do not eat or drink for 4 hours prior to your exam. Prior to entering the MRI machine, we will review your screening form and ask you a few questions.

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What if I am claustrophobic?

AIM utilizes an Open Bore MRI scanner. Our scanner permits more than sixty percent of all scans to be conducted with your head outside of the magnet, which greatly eases the claustrophobic feeling. Your doctor may prescribe you with a sedative. Please arrange the sedative prior to your MRI exam. Please let us know if you need assistance.

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Where is AIM Medical Imaging located?

We’re located at 1371 West Broadway in Vancouver, just East of Hemlock. Onsite parking available, enter off of 8th Ave. Complimentary for AIM patients.

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What are the hours of operation?

Monday to Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm. We are open evenings and weekends by appointment only. View our contact page for a map.

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Is the MRI narrow and dark like a tunnel?

Not at AIM Medical Imaging. Our MRI system is a short open bore, and is the most modern type scanner in the country. It allows views of the relaxing MRI room and technologist. The experience is unlike the systems at other facilities. Patients that are normally claustrophobic feel much at ease at AIM Medical.

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I’m stuck on a waiting list for diagnostic imaging in the public system. What should I do?

We can see most patients within 24 hours, walk in patients are welcomed and we are able to provide a detailed final report to your healthcare provider immediately.

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Is there a wait list?

We accommodate all patients in an expedited manner. Walk in patients are welcomed and appointments can be arranged for the same day. Our facility will open earlier, and our team will stay later to accommodate all patients.

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Are there size or weight restrictions?

We have an Open Bore MRI, which accommodates up to 550 pounds (249 Kg).

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Why choose AIM Medical Imaging?

AIM Medical Imaging combines state-of-the-art technology and expert interpretation by Fellowship-trained radiologists with the highest quality of patient care. To learn more about our centre, click here.

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TECHNOLOGY

What is an MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI scanners generate images of the body by manipulating magnetic fields and radio waves. MRI machine uses magnetic forces to obtain detailed images of the body. MRI is non-invasive and does not use radiation.

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Is MRI safe?

Yes, MRI is extremely safe for patients. However there is a risk of injury for patients with metal implants such as pacemakers and brain aneurysm clips. The strong magnetic field used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can pull metallic objects that contain iron. Our helpful staff will screen you to ensure you can safely undergo an MRI exam. Metal objects used in orthopaedic surgery usually pose no risk.

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Will I need an injection?

In most cases an MRI exam does not require any injections. In some situations, a substance known as a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the ability of the MRI to see into your body. All contrast agents are considered safe. We perform daily MRI arthrograms on site. The additional fee is $300.

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What should I expect during an MRI scan?

MRI is a pain-free procedure. The scanner is air-conditioned, well lit, and you can talk to the technologist. The MRI scanner produces thumping and humming noises. We offer earplugs and a music system to reduce the noise and to help pass the time. Our system is IPOD compatible, feel free to bring your own ipod! The technologist who operates the scanner will observe you from an adjacent room throughout the exam. You will be able to speak with the technologist at any time using a two-way intercom installed in the MRI unit. It is important to remain perfectly still when images are being recorded, but you may relax between imaging sequences. A routine exam normally takes 25 minutes. You may resume your usual activities immediately after the exam.

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What’s the difference between Diagnostic Imaging and Health Assessment Scans?

Diagnostic imaging is tailored to locate abnormalities after you have developed a symptom or your healthcare provider has discovered a problem. Health Assessment Scans are screening tools designed for the early detection of diseases before they become clinically apparent.

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CT VS. MRI

Recent literature and news reports have raised awareness over medical radiation. This concern is not new, but the awareness has been raised because of increased CT use. Until recently, CT which uses X-ray radiation was the best test to perform imaging of the body, because of its speed. However, recent equipment advances in MRI now allow body imaging which provides radiologist with greater diagnostic detail without radiation; however MRI is still slower than CT.

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How much radiation do I receive from a CT or X-ray procedure?

The dose varies by area examined, equipment and your body shape, as the equipment and technologists optimize the dose to ensure a good quality exam for the radiologist to interpret. We have witnessed a great variability in dose, with a good review with the lowest average doses published here.

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REFERRALS

Do I need a referral?

Yes. Click here for a Referral.

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Who can provide a referral?

All MRI examinations require a referral from a physician licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. A general practitioner or specialist physician can request an MRI scan.

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PAYMENT & FINANCING

How much does an MRI cost?

Depending on your exam, all non-contrast single site scans are currently priced at $825 inclusive. Additional examinations and scans requiring injection of contrast material have additional costs. Please call for details.

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What methods of payment are accepted?

We accept Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Email Transfer (e-transfer), Certified Cheque, Bank Drafts, Debit, Visa, Mastercard, American Express.

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Is financing offered?

Yes. We offer financial programs suitable for all patients. Please contact us for details.

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Is the cost covered by the Medical Services Plan?

No, we are a private medical clinic, therefore our services are not covered by the provincial Medical Services Plan.

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Is payment accepted from 3rd parties?

Yes. In some circumstances 3rd party payers (like Insurance organizations and Worker’s Compensation Board) will cover the cost of your scan. However in some cases your medically necessary test is tax deductible on your tax return.

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