California Advanced Imaging Atherton

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need an appointment to have an MRI scan?

Yes, all appointments are scheduled in advance since we must obtain the referral information from your doctor and usually obtain insurance preauthorization. We are open nights and weekends for your convenience.

Can I have my scan at Atherton if my referral slip is for another facility?

Yes, you have the right to choose any imaging facility to have your examination performed.

Are any special preparations necessary before the exam?

In some cases, yes, especially if you are going to receive a contrast injection. Please refer to the appropriate MRI scheduling forms for further information.

When should I arrive for my appointment?

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment. If you would like, you can download the patient history form, fill it out and bring it you your appointment.

Insurance Questions

Will I need authorization from my insurance company to have an MRI scan done?

Many insurance companies require pre authorization for MRI scans. We will work with your referring physician to obtain the necessary insurance authorization. Payment for the study is ultimately your responsibility, so it is important to obtain your authorization before your scan is scheduled.

I do not have insurance. Can you still do my scan?

If you have a prescription from your doctor, we can do the scan, and we do offer a discount for payment at the time of study. Please call us for further information.

Having Your Scan

How is the scan performed?

You will change into a patient gown in a private room and will remove all metal, jewelry, etc. The technologist will show you into the MRI suite where you will lay on the table. The table will be advanced into the scanner, and the technologist will perform the scan staying in constant contact with you. You will also be provided earplugs to decrease the normal noise the scanner makes during the scan.

How long does it take to have the scan?

Most scans take approximately 30-45 minutes. Breast MRIs and biopsies take longer, up to an hour.

Will the technologist be able to tell me the results?

No. While our technologists are experts in obtaining the images, the studies are carefully reviewed by our specialized radiologists who will prepare a report for your physician.

When will my physician have the results?

In almost all cases, we will have the report available to your physician within 24 hours after completion of the exam. If we must obtain an old study for comparison, this may take longer. This is frequently true when reviewing breast MRIs. Your doctor will then contact you with the results. If your physician has determined that your exam is urgent and needs the results immediately, we will call or fax the results.

Can I obtain a copy of the results?

We will give you a copy of your scan on a CD to take with you. After the formal report is prepared, you may obtain a written copy by signing a written medical release form.

Is your center quality certified?

We are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a center of excellence in MRI, and breast MRI. The ACR is the gold standard of quality assurance, and we regularly undergo recertification and monitor our techniques and quality. In addition, our specialized radiologists who will interpret your exam are all board certified, actively participate in continuing medical education, and participate in the ACR RADPEER professional quality assurance program.

What is an MRI scan?

When are MRI scans used?

Billing Questions

I have a question about my bill. Who do I call?

Please call our billing office at (415) 883-1218.