You will find here a lot of questions that have previously been asked by customers. If you don't find your question here, chat with us on this page or give us a call, and we would be happy to help.
Appointments and booking (18)
How do make an appointment?
You can make an appointment right here on the website by clicking "Book an appointment" on the top right of this page. If you are more comfortable you may also give us a call on +1-604-227-3000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your hours of operation?
We are typically open from 7:30AM to 7:30PM Monday to Friday and from 8:30AM to 4:30PM on Saturday. We are generally not open on public holidays. Sometimes we open for extended hours to accomodate out-of-town guests, please give us a call on +1-604-227-3000.
Are you opened on the weekends?
Yes. We are opened on Saturday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.
How long do I have to wait to get a scan?
If you are flexible as to when you can come to the clinic, we can usually accommodate you within 1 to 2 weeks. You are able to see real-time availability by clicking "Book an appointment" in the top right of the page.
How far in advance can I book an appointment?
Through our online booking you can book up to 3 months in advance. If you would like to book further into the future you can do so by calling us on +1-604-227-3000 or emailing us at email@example.com.
Do I need a referral?
If you are a Canadian resident we require that you have a referral for a Prenuvo scan. If you do not have a personal physician, we can arrange a referral for you from an independent medical practitioner at no cost to you. It might seem like a silly requirement, but we are able to make at times serious medical findings, and we feel more comfortable if you have a doctor who can help you contextualize and understand what to do next.
Can I book an appointment for someone else?
Yes, you can book an appointment for another person. However you will need to give us that person's details, and we will need to contact them in order to get their patient history and ensue that the scan is appropriate for them.
Can I buy a gift certificate for a scan?
Yes, please contact us on +1-604-227-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to organize a gift certificate that you can give you a friend or loved one. We think this is the best gift you can give someone — the possibility of saving their lives through early detection of any cancers or disease.
What if I need special accommodations for my appointment?
If you have special needs we are happy to do our best to accommodate them. We are equipped to scan patients who are not ambulatory or require assistance. Please give us a call on +1-604-227-3000 to discuss your needs.
Do you offer financing?
We offer 3rd party financing through MediCard. You can apply and find more information at www.medicard.com
Do you accept credit card payments?
Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Do you accept personal cheque or cash?
We do accept cash, but we regret that we are unable to accept personal cheques.
Do you take a deposit to secure an appointment?
Yes. We take 50% deposit to secure your appointment. We do this because when you make an appointment you are blocking machine time on the MRI. Last minute cancellations cannot often be filled.
Is the deposit refundable or transferable?
Yes. Your deposit is 100% refundable or transferable up to three business days before your appointment. The actual time before which you must cancel your appointment is printed on the email we send you. After that time we regret that your deposit is no longer refundable if you wish to cancel or transferable if you wish to change appointment times.
What if I need to change my appointment?
We have a strict 3 business day cancellation policy. Provided that you contact us before the time at which your deposit becomes non-refundable and non-transferable we are happy to accommodate any changes you request or to refund your deposit.
I arrived and found out I am claustrophobic. Can I get my money back?
If you are or suspect that you might be claustrophobic, you should request from your physician or the physician referring your scan to give you a prescription for a mild sedative. Sometimes on the day we can do an abbreviated scan for you so you spend less time in the MRI. In all cases we regret that your deposit is non-refundable or transferable if you are unable to tolerate the MRI mahcine on the day.
Are there size of weight restrictions for doing a Prenuvo scan?
Our Open Bore MRI accommodates up to 550 pounds (249 Kg).
Can I do an MRI if I am pregnant (or think I might be pregnant)?
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician. Due to the potential for a harmful increase in the temperature of the amniotic fluid, MRI is not advised for pregnant patients.
Can I be scanned if I have a pacemaker?
Unfortunately at this time we are unable to scan people with pacemakers. There is a risk that the MRI magnetic fields will disrupt its operation, and we don't want that.
Can I have an MRI if I have an intracranial aneurysm clips?
It depends on the type of clip that has been implanted, so we would need to have more information about it. MRI can be performed safely in patients with non-ferromagnetic aneurysm clips.
Can I have an MRI if I have a cochlear implant?
It depends on the type of implant you have, so we would need to have more information about it. Even if it is safe to perform an MRI, the implant will likely affect the quality of imaging that we can do of the head.
Can I have an MRI if I have a prosthetic implant?
There are so many different types of implants that we will need to know more about what you have. The good news is that many recent implants are made with metal that is MRI safe. In most cases though the implant will affect the images we can get from the surrounding tissue.
Can I be scanned if I have an implantable infusion pump?
There have been reports of adverse interactions between some devices and MRI machines. We would need to have more information about it to ensure that yours is safe..
Can I have an MRI if I have an implanted neurostimulators?
It depends on the model. Some neurostimulators have a MRI mode that they can be put into before the scan.
Can I have an MRI if I have an IUD?
Let us know if you have an IUD as we would need to check. Most IUDs are made from copper/gold are safe for MRI A small number of IUDs are made with stainless steel which can be potentially harmful to patients in an MRI.
Can I have an MRI if I I worked in the metal industry?
If there is a chance that there are metal fragments in your body, particularly in the eyes, we will require a quick x-ray to ensure that it is safe for you to do a scan. The x-ray can be ordered if you contact us a week or two before your scan.
Can I have an MRI is I have epilepsy?
MRI generally is not advised for patients with epilepsy.
Do dental implants get affected by MRIs?
No. It is safe to have an MRI while dental implants are installed.
Can I have an MRI if I have fillings or gold teeth?
Yes. This is completely safe.
Can I have an MRI if I have tattoos?
Yes people with tattoos can be scanned. There is a small chance of warming in the area of the tattoo but this very rarely occurs.
Does your MRI use radiation?
No. All MRIs are radiation free.
Are the radio-waves used in the MRI safe?
Cellphones are allowed to heat the head to 1.6 watts per kilogram. MRI is allowed to heat 3.2 watts per kilogram. By this extension, if you are comfortable speaking on your cellphone for 1200 minutes per year (120 mins per month) then you can have 9 Prenuvo scans per year.
ADo you use contrast in your MRIs?
We never offer contrast on any of Prenuvo scans. We believe that the combination of sequences that we take performs as well a contrast enhanced MRI for tumor detection.
Day of scan (13)
Can I eat anything on the day of the scan?
We recommend that you fast for 4 hours before your scan so we can take the clearest images of your stomach and gall bladder.
I forgot I had to fast and I ate something. Is it a problem?
If you ate something, don't worry. This is not a health issue, it is perfectly safe to still have your scan. Depending on how much you ate, it just means that we will have a slightly more obscured view of your stomach and gallbladder.
Are there any restrictions on what I can drink on the day of the scan?
No. You can drink whatever you want. Just bear in mind that, depending on the scan you are taking, you will be in the MRI machine for up to 75 mins, so we recommend that you visit the restroom before going in.
How should I dress for the scan?
There is no need to dress in a particular way on scan day. You will get changed at the clinic (leaving on your underwear) and be given a two piece gown to wear during the scan.
Where do I put my belongings at the clinic?
You will be given a locker in the change room to store your belongings while you are being scanned. This locker can be locked with a key that you bring into the scan room during the scan.
Is there anything dangerous is shouldn't bring into the MRI room?
Even metal objects not made of iron or steel can interfere with the exam. Never bring any of the following into the examination room: coins, dentures or partial plates, hearing aids, iPod items, jewelry, keys, cell phone, watch. A secure private room to store your valuables will be provided.
What should I do about jewelry or piercings?
The best thing to do is to leave them at home. Jewelry and piercings can be dangerous or interfere with the images we take. If you arrive at the clinic with jewelry or piercings, you will be asked to remove them and store them in your locker.
What should I expect during the scan?
MRI is a pain-free procedure. The scanner is air-conditioned, well lit, and you will always be in contact with an MRI technologist through a two-way intercom. 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, and we also have a selection of music for you to choose from. The technologist who operates the scanner will observe the patient from an adjacent room throughout the entire scan. It is important to remain perfectly still when images are being recorded, but you may relax between imaging sequences.
What if I am claustrophobic?
Our open bore MRI scanner permits more than sixty percent of all scans to be conducted with the head outside of the magnet, which greatly eases the claustrophobic feeling. Your doctor may prescribe you with a sedative depending on your level of claustrophobia. Please arrange the sedative prior to your MRI exam and please also ensure you have arranged a driver or alternate mode of transportation.
Can I move when I am on the machine?
You may wiggle your fingers and toes, but we ask that you stay as still as you can while the scans are being performed. If you do move this is not a safety issue it just affects the quality of the images we can obtain. Part of what makes our scan so accurate is that we image the same tissue in your body a number of different times in different directions and at different tissue weights. If you move it affects our ability to line these images up and therefore affects the accuracy of our reading.
Is it possible to have a bathroom break during the scan?
Not really. Of course if it is an emergency we will get you out of there to the toilet. But the high accuracy of our screening depends on being able to image you an exactly the same place a number of different ways. If you need to take a break, once you return you will be in another position. If you think this might be a problem you might want to be careful how much you drink or take some medication to ensure you can last the duration of the scan.
What if I have an emergency during the scan?
At all times a MRI technician is present in the control room monitoring your scan. You will be given an emergency buzzer that sounds an alarm if there is an emergency. Our MRI technician respond immediately and are trained in first aid to assist you.
Will I learn anything the day of the scan?
Usually it takes up to 5 business days for a radiologist to read your scans. This is because there are up to 2000 images to get through and check for hundreds of conditions. It is a thorough but time-consuming job. If on our initial read we find something particularly concerning, we will try our best to expedite your reading as quickly as possible.
Insurance and health system (6)
Is this covered by the health system?
What we are doing is quite advanced and while there are hundreds of studies showing their effectiveness, no public MRI facility is conducting these examinations. It might take years, unfortunately, for MSP to cover preventative MRI scans especially because of the huge backlog in diagnostic scans that the BC system has at the moment.
Is this covered by extended insurance?
Typically, a Prenuvo scan is not covered by extended insurance. We have had some customers who have gotten something reimbursed but it is more likely they are lucky than the scan is covered. We are always working with insurers to help educate them on the advantages of the Prenuvo scan but it is unlikely that there are changes in the short term.
Is the scan tax-deductible?
Medical expenditures like the Prenuvo scan are typically tax-deductible. If so, you are effectively paying for your Prenuvo scan out of your pre-tax income.
Do I have to add GST to my Prenuvo scan?
GST is not levied on medical expenditures.
Will the scan results will be put in to his medical records?
We only need to send you medical report back to your referring doctor. We do not submit them to any health or insurance system.
Can you tell me more about the Chief Radiologist at Prenuvo?
Dr. Attariwala, MD, PhD is a dual board certified radiologist and nuclear medicine physician who is certified in both Canada and the United States. He is a currently also a director at Premier Diagnostics Centre, and he has given presentations at numerous international conferences. He received his formal training at UBC, along with specialized medical training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre (New York), UCLA, and USC. Dr. Attariwala also holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).
Who interprets my images?
A Radiologist (physician specially trained in MRI and other radiology examinations, such as X-ray, CT, ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine). Radiologists at Prenuvo 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.
What medical association is the clinic associated with?
The clinic operates under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. Technologists are registered with the CAMRT. The clinic also has to adhere to the Diagnostic Accreditation Program which is run by the College of Physicians.
How long does the radiology take to be completed?
We aim to return every customer's medical report within 5 business days. Infrequently there are short holdups, particularly around holidays. If we think your report will be delayed we will let you know in advance.
What does the medical report contain?
We produce a detailed medical report for your physician that walks them through even system and organ in the body and identifies any abnormal findings that we make. This is produced in a format that they are familiar with.
What does the patient report contain?
We aim to make available later this year your images and a more explanatory report for you to take you through everything we screen for. You will be able to read this on an app and on your computer. In the meantime you will receive a USB of your images when you leave the clinic.
Does your clinic provide referals to top professional specialist and doctors locally and abroad?
We will provide recommendations of specialists that we have worked in the past. Unfortunately we cannot refer. However we want to collaborate with any and all of the medical professionals you have and would be happy to work together with your doctor to make sure that you are taken care of.
How are you different to other whole body MRI services?
There are so many differences between a Prenuvo scan and other whole body MRI that we don't like to even compare.
Sequences and filters used – to make sure that there is low false positive rate it is important that your body is imaged with different filters. Usually other providers do not use many filters in their screening protocol but in our protocol this is key.
Quantity and quality of the images — we get up to 1600 high quality images inside your body. The basic rule is that more images provide more details. We capture up to 10x more images than "WB MRI".
One time scanning — we scan you from head to toes during one 60-75min scan. Other providers scan parts of the body and “glue” the parts together to create whole body scan.
Price – We offer our services cheaper than our competitors such as HLI in San Diego.
Can you tell me more about your false positive rate?
False positive is a result that indicates that a given condition is present when it is not. For example, if a particular test designed to detect cancer returns a positive result but the person does not have cancer. In one of our clinical study, we had 4 false positive findings out of 1000 patients. There is no such thing as a perfect test, however we are committed to learning from any false positives that we do have to minimize the likelihood of it reoccuring.
Is your scan more accurate than a PET scan?
It is rare that PET-CT is used to diagnose a cancer as it is expensive and subjects you to radiation. PET reads how active the tumor is metabolically. PET scans use CT, which is radiation, to obtain a low dose anatomical image which is over-layed on the PET images to help the doctors locate the tumor in the body. PET unfortunately cannot check the kidneys or bladder for cancers since the radioactive contrast is excreted through them and is highly concentrated in these areas during the scan. Our scan can pick up tumors as well as show the anatomy in detail.
How does your scan compare to 3T MRIs?
Bigger is not always better. A 3T MRI is best for a detailed brain study but performs poorly for imaging the whole body because of artifacts and interference. A 3T MRI also heats the body too much and for safety reasons can really do only single body parts. As we specialize in whole body screening we only use a 1.5T MRI.
Approximately what percentage of customers get an "all-clear" result?
Almost none. All of us have abnormalities and findings. For example, as a generation of people who spend a lot of time sitting down we diagnose a spinal issue or two in almost everyone. Everyone also has many benign features that are good to know so that they are not confused for something more serious later on. Importantly less than 5% of customers receive "life-altering" news.
Is there an age you recommend people be screened by/around?
There is no real age for a recommended scan. If your concern is cancer, then incidence of cancer does go up with age, starting at 40 years old. However, cancer that develops at a younger age, while less common, tends to be more aggressive. A Prenuvo scan at any age is helpful, especially in establishing a baseline for your health is important and if there is a strong history of cancer or major disease in your family. (especially early-onset cancer).
What is the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?
A CT scan is great for showing densities in organs, but is not useful for determining what these densities are. For example, the CT can only report a "small fibroid measuring 10mm", whereas an MRI can show more certainty in saying "a 0.8cm intramural fibroid". The MRI is more definitive on its composition and exact location. The CT can show densities such as coronary artery calcifications, and this is the main benefit from a CT over MRI. The MRI shows more precise imaging for brain, brain arteries (which were not imaged at all on the CT), as well as every single organ in the neck, breasts, abdominal and pelvis. CT would be better for assessing esophagus, lung and stomach. The major downside of the CT is that it uses a high dose of radiation. For example a CT scan used 79.7mGy of radiation. This is the equivalent of 800 chest x-rays and 22 years of background radiation every time you go for a CT scan. With MRI, there is no radiation, making it a safe test that does not have a risk of causing leukemia or lymphoma.
What is the difference between an ultrasound and an MRI?
It is really hard to compare ultrasound to MRI. There are a few areas where ultrasound really shines — notably in confirming kidney stones because MRI is not able to see calcification. But it suffers from a poor field of vision (kind of like shining a light in under the water, where the depth of field can be a bit murky) which means that it sometimes misses things. A good example was an ovarian cyst we found recently in a woman that received a normal ultrasound because the cyst was likely confused with a section of bowel. An MRI is a totally different modality. It is three-dimensional — if you see a problem you know exactly what organ it is in. And we don't just take run-of-the-mill MRI. We take many different tissue weights which means we can not only determine that "something is there" but we can distinguish if that something is a hematoma, cyst, abscess or solid tumor.
Is a CT or MRI better at finding tumors?
MRI. A CT scan has a problem differentiation tumors. This is because a CT focuses on density — with a CT scan there are 30% of tumors you might see, but many you would miss. Importantly, CT scans cannot accurately see breast tumor or liver tumors.
What specific sequences do you use in the Prenuvo scans?
We perform a comprehensive set of protocols which image the entire body. These include brain quantification, arterial assessment, fat quantification of the whole body as well as dedicated cancer and spinal screening. The exact techniques are part of our "special sauce" and are hence not freely given out. Rest assured they are a combination of evidence based and emerging technologies which offer the most comprehensive diagnostic imaging in a reasonable time frame. We currently utilize Siemens hardware in our current locations.
How can you detect Alzheimer?
We do a very detailed examination of the brain in our Comprehensive Prenuvo scan. We use this in three ways. First, if you have advanced Alzheimer's we will see that damage in your brain. Second, we often see early warning signs of Alzheimer's in the form of tiny white matter lesions in the brain. Third, we use these images as a baseline for y9ur brain volume and then can compare this to a second reading taken when you come in for a second scan And changes in brain volume will then be apparent.
How effective is the Prenuvo scan for breast cancer versus mammography?
The two screens actually work really well together. Mammography is capable of seeing small micro-calcifications in the breast that MRI does not see. Breast calcifications are common on mammograms, and they're especially prevalent after age 50. Although breast calcifications are usually noncancerous (benign), certain patterns of calcifications — such as tight clusters with irregular shapes and fine appearance — may indicate breast cancer or precancerous changes to breast tissue. Our MRI scan, on the other hand, is capable of seeing breast cancer clearly through dense breast tissue which mammogram struggles to do.
How does your company and the clinic manage any and all information gathered from your clients and or patients?
Information that is stored is accessible only by a small number of staff which have a reason to access. We make efforts to deanonymize patient information as it is captured and only certain staff have access to patient-identifiable data. Any staff access to patient-identifiable data is logged and stored by the company.
Why don't you image the heart in great detail?
We don't image the heart in great detail because it would take too long to image it. A dedicated heart MRI often takes up to 40 minutes.
If you don't image the heart in great detail, what can you tell me about my heart disease risk?
We can't tell you if you have a blocked artery in the heart, a CT is much better at doing that. So if you have chest pains or symptoms of a heart attack then you should order a CT study (after calling 911). What we are able to do with MRI is look for evidence of atherosclerotic disease (this is the cause of most heart attacks) in other parts of the body. The most common place we find this is the brain. If we find advanced atherosclerosis in the brain then almost always it will be present in other organs as well, particularly the heart.
If I do a Prenuvo scan do I still need to do a colonoscopy?
While unpleasant to do, a colonoscopy is a very good examination of the colon It is able to see and remove precancerous polyps so that they never have the possibility to develop into cancer. The Prenuvo scan will not always see small polyps in the colon as they will be mixed in with stool. We will see colon cancer once it has invaded the colon wall (still Stage 1). So it is worth thinking of the Prenuvo scan as a nice backup to a colonoscopy (which is not always able to image the entire bowel, not as a replacement for it).
What is your clinic’s policy on protection of privacy for your clients and the person receiving the scans?
Our patient’s privacy and confidentiality are very important to us. We comply with Canadian laws with respect to patient confidentiality and privacy.
Does your clinic retain a copy of the scans and/or store that information?
The clinic is required to retain a copy of patient results under Canadian law for 10 years.