Many types of scans can be completed during a same-day appointment, and do not require specific preparation. Others, such as blood tests, hormone panels, or urine tests, may require another appointment or lab visit to collect a sample. You may need to fast (abstain from eating and drinking) for a certain length of time before the sample is collected.
Some tests, such as colonoscopies and biopsies, may also require more preparation, such as drinking a laxative substance to clear out the colon so it can be examined.
Your doctor will let you know of anything specific you need to do to prepare. Prior to your appointment, write down any questions you have.
Most types of diagnostic testing do not require recovery time. For some tests, like biopsies, your experience afterward will depend on the location and type. With many minimally invasive biopsies, you can expect to return to your typical activities immediately after your appointment.
For more invasive biopsies, you may experience some stiffness, swelling, or pain around the biopsy site. These symptoms typically diminish quickly, but you may need some time to recover before returning to normal activities.
If general anesthesia is required, you will need to have someone drive you home from the hospital.
Depending on the specific test, you can expect to receive results anywhere from a few minutes after the scan or test, up to several days or weeks afterward. Some types of tests must be sent to a lab for microscopic analysis before results can be released.
At your appointment, make sure to ask your doctor when to expect results and how they will be communicated to you.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.