For general assistance and inquiries please contact the main office.

General Questions & Inquiries
(910) 323-2209

For more information or to gain access to the Image Portal or Scheduling Portal, please contact Kelsey Humphries at extension 109 or via e-mail at khumphries@valleyregionalimaging.com.

FAQ's - General Questions About Your Visit

Scheduling Appointments

  • How soon can I book an appointment with VRI?
  • In many cases, we can schedule you the same day you or your Physician's office call for an appointment.  Our goal is to schedule your appointment at the most convenient time for you.  X-Rays are offered as a walk-in or scheduled appointment and many other studies can be added into our daily schedule as needed. 

    VRI also offers extended X-Ray, Mammography, and MRI hours until 7pm Monday thru Thursday and MRI and Screening Mammography on Saturdays from 8am-12pm.

  • Do I need a referral?
  • Yes, all imaging requests must have a referral from your Physician prior to the exam being rendered. The only exception is an annual screening mammogram for women over 40.  These exams do not require a Physician's referral - patients for this procedure may schedule their own appointment.

Imaging Procedures & Preparation

  • CT
  • -Creatinine and GFR calculations will be evaluated as needed prior to giving IV contrast to patients.

    -All CT exams requiring IV contrast - no food or fluids 6 hours prior to IV contrast.

    -Abdomen/Pelvis - Patient must pick up an oral prep kit with instructions at least 1 day prior to the exam. 

  • MRI
  • -Sedation: VRI does not provide sedation for patients.  If a patient wishes to be sedated or relaxed prior to their exam, they should discuss medication options with their referring Physician prior to their visit.  If the patient chooses to be medicated for the exam, a driver is required to provide transportation to ensure the patient's safety.

    -MRI cannot be performed on patients with a cardiac pacemaker, some cardiac valves and stents, otologic implants, implanted neurostimulator, non-titanium aneurysm clips in the head, pregnancy (in some cases), metal in body or exposure to welding. 

  • Nuclear Medicine
  • -Hepatobiliary - Nothing by mouth after midnight.

    -Gastric Emptying - Nothing by mouth after midnight.

    -Bone Scan - Force fluids beginning evening before exam.

    -Renal - No food after midnight; drink normally.

    -Thyroid Uptake and Scan - Nothing by mouth after midnight.  No IV contrast studies within 30 days.  No thyroid hormones (Synthroid, etc.) for 3 weeks prior to the exam.

    -Thyroid Scan - No IV contrast studies within 30 days.  No thyroid hormones (Synthroid, etc.) for 2 weeks prior to exam.  No seafood 2 days before.

    -All other Nuclear Medicine exams - no prep required.

  • Ultrasound
  • -Abdomen/Gall Bladder - Nothing by mouth 8 hours prior to exam.

    -Aorta - Nothing by mouth 8 hours prior to exam.

    -Renal - 8oz. water 30 minutes bfore exam.  Hold bladder.

    -Pelvis - 64 oz. water 1 hour before exam. Hold bladder full.

    -Appendix - Nothing by mouth 8 hours prior to exam.

    - Pylorus - Need to bring a bottle of Pedialyte.  Hold last feeding 4 hours.

    -OB 1st Trimester - 16 oz. water 1 hour before exam.  Hold bladder full.

    -OB 2nd and 3rd Trimester - No prep.

    -All other U/S exams - No prep.

  • General Radiography including Fluoroscopy
  • -Creatinine and GFR calculations will be evaluated as needed prior to giving IV contrast to patients.

    -Barium Swallow - Nothing by mouth after midnight.

    -Upper GI - Nothing by mouth after midnight.

    -Small Bowel - Nothing by mouth after midnight.

    -Barium Enema - Patient must pick up an oral prep kit with instructions at least 1 day prior to exam.

    -IVP - Patient must pick up an oral prep kit with instructions at least 1 day prior to exam.

    -DEXA/Bone Densitomety - No contrast (dye) or barium in the last 10 days.  No Nuclear Medicine studies in the last 10 days.

  • Mammography
  • Before scheduling a Digital Mammogram, the ACS and other specialty organizations recommend that you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your Physician. In addition, inform your Physician of any prior surgeries, hormone use and family or personal history of breast cancer.

    Do not schedule your Digital Mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time is one week following your period.  Always inform your Physician or x-ray Technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.

    Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the Digital Mammogram as calcium spots. Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the Technologist performing the exam.  If possible, obtain prior Mammograms and make them available to the Radiologist at the time of the current exam.  In addition, before the examination you will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing above the waist and you will be given a gown or loose-fitting material that opens in the front.

  • Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.  You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.  Prior to a needle biopsy, you should report to your Physician all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, and if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia.  Your Physician will advise you to stop taking aspirin or a blood thinner three days before your procedure.  Also, inform your Physician about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.  You may want to have a relative or friend accompany you and drive you home afterward.  This is recommended if you have been sedated.

  • Breast MR
  • According to the American Cancer Society, women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so faor as long as they are in good health.

    - Current evidence supporting mammograms is even stronger than in the past.  In particular, recent evidence has confirmed that mammograms offer substantial benefits for women in their 40s.  Women can feel confident about the benefits associated with regular mammograms for finding cancer early.  However, mammograms also have limitations.  A mammogram can miss some cancers, and it may lead to follow up of findings that are not cancer.

    -Women should be told about the benefits and limitations linked with yearly mammograms.  But despite their limitations, mammograms are still a very effective and valuable tool for decreasing suffereing and death from breast cancer.

    -Mammograms should be continued regardless of a woman's age, as long as she does not have serious or chronic health problems.

     

    Women at high risk (great than 20% lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.  Women at moderately increased risk (15% to 20% lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammograms.  Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.

    Women at high risk include those who:

    -Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

    -Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves

    -Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 20% to 25% of greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history

    -Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years

    -Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have one of these syndromes in first-degree relatives

    Women at moderately increased risk include those who:

    -Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 15% to 20%, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history

    -Have a personal history of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), or atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH)

    -Have extremely dense breasts or unevenly dense breasts when viewed by mammograms

    If MRI is used, it should be in addition to, not instead of, a screening mammogram.  This is because although an MRI is a more sensitive test (it's more likely to detect cancer than a mammogram), it may stilll miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect.

     

    The American Cancer Society belives the use of mammograms, MRI (in women at high risk), clinical breast exams, and finding and reporting breast changes early, according to the recommendations outlined above, offers women the best chance to reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer.  This approach is clearly better than any one exam or test alone.  Without question, a physical exam of the breast without a mammogram would miss the opportunity to detect many breast cancers that are too small for a woman or her Physician to feel but can be seen on mammograms.  Mammograms are a sensitive screening method, but a small percentage of breast cancers do not show up on mammograms but can be felt by a woman or her Physicians.  For women at high risk of breast cancer, such as those with BRCA gene mutations or a strong family history, both MRI and mammogram exams of the breast are recommended.

VRI Radiologists

  • Why are subspecialty-trained Radiologists important to me?
  • Subspecialist Radiologists have additional years of advanced training in modalities such as MRI, CT, and PET/CT. They also have clinical expertise in body parts such as brain, head/neck, spine, soft tissue, shoulder, elbow, hand/wrist, knee and foot/ankle.

    VRI is served by over 20 Radiologists, many of whom have additional fellowship training in a variety of subspecialties including Cardiovascular, Neurological, Orthopaedic, Women’s Imaging, Cancer, Pediatric, and Interventional Radiology.

    At VRI, patients can have confidence that their exam will be performed by highly trained professionals and interpreted by Radiologists with expertise and experience.

  • If I require hospitalization, will the same subspecialty radiologists be evaluating my studies?
  • Yes, VRI Radiologists will provide continuity of care should you need their services at several of our local hospitals.  The Radiologists belong to Valley Radiology which serves three area hospital systems and three imaging centers.  These Radiologists are the only Radiologists privileged at Cape Fear Valley Health System and work around the clock to be available for patient care.

Medical Records

  • Can I get a copy of my images and reports?
  • VRI provides films/CDs to your Physician as requested. Many area Physicians also have access to your imaging via our online portal.  If you need an additional copy, you may request them at any time. Please contact VRI's medical records department for more information at 323-2209.

  • Can my physician access my study online?
  • Yes - many Physicians in our community have access to view patient reports and image through a secure online portal into our systems.  If your Physician does not have access and would like this capability, please have them contact VRI to gain access.

Payment Policies

  • What do I need to bring with me to facilitate the payment process?
  • We will need your complete insurance information, including your insurance card, ID number, and group number. In addition, for workers' compensations claims and automobile injuries, bring your claim number, the date of injury and the name and address of the claims adjustment company.

  • Do I need preauthorization from my health care policy or plan?
  • If an authorization is needed, VRI, in conjunction with your referring Physician, will obtain an authorization prior to your visit. VRI encourages you to be familiar with your respective insurance plan.

  • I don't have medical insurance. Can I get a price quotation on my procedure?
  • If you do not have medical insurance and/or you are concerned about paying for your procedure, you can call VRI to discuss our self-pay options. We can give you an estimate and inform you of payment options.

    VRI offers a discount of 65% off the exam and the Radiologist's reading if the patient is able to pay within 30 days.  Additionally, for patients who require longer terms, payment plans of 3 months and 6 months are available at a 30% discount.  VRI works with each patient to ensure the best possible arrangement is made for each exam. 

  • Does VRI file secondary claims as well as primary ones?
  • Yes.

  • Do you participate with my insurance carrier?
  • Please check the "Insurance" section of our website. If you do not see your insurance carrier listed, please call us to ask if we are able to accept your insurance.  We continue to add insurance providers and welcome the opportunity to gain "in-network" status with a new provider.  

General Reminders

  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • If a Medical Power of Attorney is in place for a patient, (IE. nursing home patients, group home patients, non-parental legal guardian of a minor, etc.) the responsible party needs to accompany the patient and have a copy of the Power of Attorney with them.