Medical Imaging

a woman lies on an MRI machine bed before entering the machine

Our Medical Imaging department is part of the Joint Department of Medical Imaging (JDMI) comprised of Women’s College Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network (Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehab Hospital).

Contact Info

76 Grenville Street
Floor 2
Toronto, ON M5S 1B2
Phone: 416-323-7515

At Women’s College Hospital we provide and support imaging and interventional services in an ambulatory (out-patient) care environment. We are fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and are actively engaged in advancing diagnostic practices through research and academics. Our work is focused on improving and advocating the health of women as seen through our recent MSK Ultrasound and Virtual Colonography initiatives. We also boast one of the province’s first Large Bore MRI Scanners. With its larger than normal opening, this scanner provides more comfort for our patients. We also work closely with clinical services including Family Practice, to develop new ways of offering walk-in patients access to same-day diagnostic scans.

Our inter-disciplinary staff work closely and professionally to provide quality diagnosis, assessment, planning and treatment for our patients.

We are also leading several eHealth innovations, software development initiatives and regularly updating clinical practices to align with current best industry standards.

  • CT (Computed Tomography)
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • nuclear medicine
  • general support service information
  • breast imaging
  • ultrasound
  • x-ray (general radiography)

  • vascular intervention (Toronto General, Toronto Western and Mount Sinai Hospitals)
  • thyroid biopsies (Toronto General Hospital)
  • sonohysterograms (Women’s College Hospital)

  • neurological imaging
  • cardio-thoracic imaging
  • abdominal imaging
  • breast imaging
  • musculoskeletal imaging
  • vascular Interventional radiology
  • molecular imaging

Walk-ins not accepted

Breast Imaging/Mammography: 5th Floor

Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scans: 2nd Floor

Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): 2nd Floor

Booking Office Hours:

Monday to Friday
7:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.

Nuclear Medicine: 2nd Floor

Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

General Support Service: 2nd Floor

Monday to Friday
7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Ultrasound: 2nd Floor

Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

X-Ray: 2nd Floor

Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Release of Information (ROI): 2nd Floor

Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

(ROI) Closed for lunch from:

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Breast imaging is the examination of the breast to demonstrate any changes and abnormalities using mammography and/or ultrasound. breastimaging.JPG (photo of a breast imaging machine)

A mammogram is an x-ray test of the breast tissue. It can provide information about lumps, calcifications and other abnormalities that may be present in the breast. It is also available for screening purposes for women without any breast problems.

Breast ultrasound uses sound waves – not radiation – to show breast tissue. A breast ultrasound can show areas of the breast, including the areas closest to the chest wall that are difficult to see in a mammogram. Breast ultrasound is used to check any abnormalities in the breast and provide further information.

At Women’s College Hospital, there are four digital mammography units and three ultrasound units in the breast imaging department. Our centre is accredited with the Canadian Association of Radiologists Mammography Accreditation Program (CARMAP).

Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP)

Our breast imaging centre at Women’s College Hospital is an Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) assessment site as part of our proud partnership with Cancer Care Ontario. The OBSP is a self-referral screening mammogram that does not require a requisition from your family doctor. This program is for Ontario women only, aged 50 to 74 years old, who have no previous history of breast cancer, no implants and no current breast symptoms.

Referral Information

IMPORTANT – for all exams (except for OBSP self-referral screening exams), you will need a signed requisition form from your referring doctor. It is necessary to bring or send to us any previous mammogram exams done at another facility. You will be asked to complete a medical history form before starting the test

CT (computed tomography) scans, sometimes called a CAT scan, uses x-rays to make detailed pictures of structures within the body. Most parts of the body can be examined using CT. CTscan.jpeg (image of a CT scan machine)

During the scan, the patient lies on a table attached to the CT scanner, which is a large donut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends x-rays through the area of the body being studied. Each rotation of the scanner takes less than a second, and provides a picture of a thin slice of the area of interest.

Most CT scans require a patient to have an injection of material we call contrast. It is very important that you tell your technologist and the person booking your appointment if you are allergic to this contrast. There are things we can do to help prepare you for the exam.

Women’s College Hospital provides abdomenal, chest, head/neck and musculoskeletal CT scans, as well as colonography (virtual colonoscopy) scans.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves (not radiation) to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets, resembling a tunnel (or a donut) that has both ends open. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily aligns all the water molecules in your body. Radio waves cause these aligned particles to produce very faint signals that are used to create cross-sectional MRI images, like slices in a loaf of bread.

The MRI machine creates a strong magnetic field around you, and radio waves are directed at your body. Due to the magnetic field, it is very important that you remove any metal objects before going into the MRI room. The procedure is painless and typically lasts an hour. You must hold very still because movement can blur the resulting images. In some cases, contrast agents are injected into your veins to enhance the appearance of certain tissues or blood vessels in the images.

At Women’s College Hospital our MRI scanner is wider and shorter than most, the larger bore provides greater comfort to patients who are claustrophobic ordistressed in tighter spaces.

Women’s College Hospital specializes in breast MRI, although images of all other body parts are also performed, including chest, musculoskeletal, neuro (brain) and abdomen.

Nuclear Medicine is a medical specialty that uses radioactive substances to diagnose and treat disease. nuclear-medicine.jpg (image of a nuclear medicine machine)

During a nuclear medicine procedure, a patient will ingest, inhale or receive an injection of radioactive material called a radiopharmaceutical. Once this material has travelled to the organ(s) of interest, a technologist will take pictures using a special imaging system, called a gamma camera.

About Nuclear Medicine at Women’s College Hospital

The nuclear medicine division at Women’s College Hospital has three gamma cameras, including two new state-of-the-art hybrid SPECT/CT imaging systems. Both diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures are offered.

Nuclear medicine at Women’s College Hospital specializes in nuclear cardiology, particularly the use of myocardial perfusion imaging in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Additional areas of specialty include the diagnosis and treatment of cancers common in women, including breast, thyroid, parathyroid, melanoma and neuroendocrine, as well as injuries related to sports medicine and rheumatologic disorders.

Ultrasound is a medical procedure using high frequency sound waves. There is no radiation used in Ultrasound. Devices we call “Probes” send and receive these sound waves producing real time pictures. These pictures include various body parts, organs, and blood flow. ultrasound.jpg (image of an ultrasound machine)

An ultrasound exam takes on average 30 minutes but can take up to 2.5 hours

At Women’s College Hospital we offer:

  • all general ultrasounds (abdomen, pelvis)
  • obstetrical imaging

General radiography uses x-rays to create an image of the inside of the body. Any part of the body can be examined. The image created is viewed and interpreted by a radiologist to detect and diagnose medical conditions. xray.jpeg (image of a x-ray machine)

At Women’s College Hospital we offer:

  • standard x-ray (no appointment required)

A referral from a physician is required.

ELECTRONIC REFERRALS

The Joint Department of Medical Imaging is now accepting referrals through Ocean eReferral to help everyone save time and to increase efficiency.

Ocean Network eReferral benefits for providers include:

  • Accelerates appointment booking by improving communication between providers with secure bidirectional messaging
  • Easy to use – integrates with top EMRs such as Telus PSS, Accuro and Oscar
  • User friendly web-based portal
  • Keeps you and your patients informed of referral status with automated email notifications and EMR status updates
  • Patients can confirm appointment electronically

Signing up is simple and free of charge:

FAX REFERRALS

The MRI Request Form (.pdf) is PDF writeable enabling external referring physicians to type directly into the form, print, sign and fax to Women’s College Hospital.

Typed requisitions will improve overall legibility and completeness of the forms we receive. Please note this electronic version cannot be populated and saved, but must be printed, signed and faxed to the appropriate number indicated on top of the form.

Learn more about our medical imaging services and how to prepare in advance of your appointment:

CT (computed tomography) Scans

What do I need to do to prepare?

You may be asked to not eat for four hours before the exam, while continuing to drink plenty of fluids. Your referring physician or our booking office will inform you of these instructions.

What will I feel during the scan?

CT scans do not cause any pain. If you are having a dye (contrast) injection, this injection may cause you to feel warm.

How long will the exam last?

The length of the exam depends on the type of scan. If an oral contrast is taken, it takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour for the contrast to move through the digestive tract. While you are drinking this oral contrast you will be in the waiting room. If there is no oral contrast, the exam can take 15 to 30 minutes.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

If no contrast is used, there are no specific instructions to follow. If intravenous contrast or oral contrast is used, drink water throughout the day to help eliminate the contrast. Watch for and report any delayed reaction to contrast.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

What do I need to do to prepare?

You may be asked to not eat for three hours before the exam, while continuing to drink plenty of fluids. Your referring physician or our booking office will inform you of these instructions.

What will I feel during the scan?

CT scans do not cause any pain.

How long will the exam last?

Approximately 15-30 minutes.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

If no contrast is used, there are no specific instructions to follow. If intravenous contrast is used, drink water throughout the day to help eliminate the contrast.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Please refer to your preparation sheets that will be given to you together with the preparation kit.

What will I feel during the scan?

This examination involves having a CT scan of the abdomen after filling your colon with carbon dioxide using a small rectal tube. Following this, the CT scan will be performed, first with you lying on your back then on your stomach.

How long will the exam last?

The exam will last 30 minutes.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

If intravenous contrast is used, drink water throughout the day to help eliminate the contrast.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days

What do I need to do to prepare?

You may be asked to not eat for three hours before the exam, while continuing to drink plenty of fluids. Your referring physician or our booking office will inform you of these instructions.

What will I feel during the scan?

CT scans do not cause any pain.

How long will the exam last?

Approximately 15-30 minutes.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

If no contrast is used, there are no specific instructions to follow. If intravenous contrast is used, drink water throughout the day to help eliminate the contrast.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

What do I need to do to prepare?

Preparation for your MRI is simple: eat as you normally would and complete your normal routine activities. Speak with your referring doctor if you have any questions or if you take any medications.

What will I feel during the scan?

MRI procedures cause no pain. However, the MRI machine requires that the patient remain still during the examination, which may be uncomfortable due to lying down on your stomach. You may feel hot during contrast injection.

How long will the exam last?

The exam will take 45 minutes.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

Drink water throughout the day to help eliminate the contrast.

When can I expect results?

The results will be sent to your referring doctor. This can take up to one week.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Preparation for your MRI is simple: eat as you normally would and complete your normal routine activities. Speak with your referring doctor if you have any questions or if you take any medications.

What will I feel during the scan?

MRI procedures cause no pain. However, the MRI machine requires that the patient remain still during the examination, which may be uncomfortable for some.

How long will the exam last?

This depends on the type of MRI exam. Some procedures can take 30 minutes and others may take up to an hour.

What am I supposed to do after the exam?

There are no specific instructions for post-procedural care if no contrast injection.

When can I expect results?

The results will be sent to your referring doctor. This can take up to one week.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Preparation for your MRI is simple: eat as you normally would and complete your normal routine activities. Speak with your referring doctor if you have any questions or if you take any medications.

What will I feel during the scan?

MRI procedures cause no pain. However, the MRI machine requires that the patient remain still during the examination, which may be uncomfortable for some.

How long will the exam last?

This depends on the type of MRI exam. Some procedures can take 30 minutes and others may take up to an hour.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

There are no specific instructions for post-procedural care if no contrast injection.

When can I expect results?

The results will be sent to your referring doctor. This can take up to one week.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Preparation for your abdominal MRI: No food or drink 4hrs prior to the MRI. You may drink enough water to take any necessary medications

What will I feel during the scan?

MRI procedures cause no pain. However, the MRI machine requires that the patient remain still during the examination, which may be uncomfortable due to lying down on your stomach. You may feel hot during contrast injection.

How long will the exam last?

It will take up to an hour.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

Drink water throughout the day to help eliminate the contrast if you have contrast injection.

When can I expect results?

The results will be sent to your referring doctor. This can take up to one week.

Ultrasound

What do I need to do to prepare?

  1. You are required to fast for six hours before your exam time. You may drink plain water as your usual routine.
  2. Do not empty your bladder for 2 hours before your exam time.
  3. If you are taking medication, take your medication as per your prescription.
  4. If you are diabetic, ensure your blood sugar levels are maintained by drinkingsugar containing liquids as needed.
  5. For kidney or bladder exams, a full bladder is needed. Please arrive with a comfortably full bladder. Drink 2 cups (500 ml) of water, starting 2 hours prior to your exam.  Aim to finish your water about 30 minutes before your scheduled exam, as this will give your bladder enough time to fill adequately. If you find that your bladder is overly uncomfortable before the exam, it is okay to use the restroom and release a small amount of urine. For questions regarding how to ensure a full bladder, please consult with your referring provider.

What will I feel during the scan?

You will feel slight pressure while a sonographer moves a hand-held device called a transducer across the skin to obtain images.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

No followup care is required.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Drink 2 cups (500 ml) of water, starting 2 hours prior to your exam.  Aim to finish your water about 30 minutes before your scheduled exam, as this will give your bladder enough time to fill adequately. If you find that your bladder is overly uncomfortable before the exam, it is okay to use the restroom and release a small amount of urine. For questions regarding how to ensure a full bladder, please consult with your referring provider.

What will I feel during the scan?

You will feel slight pressure while a sonographer moves a hand-held device called a transducer across the skin to obtain images.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

No followup care is required.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Combined abdominal and pelvic ultrasounds require you to fast for four to six hours. Do not empty your bladder for two hours prior to the examination. You can have a small amount of water and take your medications. If you have diabetes you can have some tea and dry toast. You can take your medications as required.

What will I feel during the scan?

You will feel slight pressure while a sonographer moves a hand-held device called a transducer across the skin to obtain images.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

No followup care is required.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Eat and drink normally.  You are not required to drink extra fluids before your ultrasound.  Do not empty your bladder for one hour before your exam.

What will I feel during the scan?

You will feel slight pressure while a sonographer moves a hand-held device called a transducer across the skin to obtain images.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

No followup care is required.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

What do I need to do to prepare?

please inform booking person of the first day of your last period

Eat and drink normally.  If you are premenopausal (having periods) or postmenopausal on sequential hormone replacement (you have regular period-like bleeding), your exam should be done between day 6 and day 10 of your menstrual cycle.  If you are postmenopausal and do not have periods, your test can be done at any time.  Take manufacturers recommended dose of ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or any other pain medication you normally take for menstrual pain 30 minutes prior to the scheduled examination time.

What will I feel during the exam?

You may feel mild uterine cramping similar to menstrual cramps.

How long will the exam last?

The first part of the exam usually takes about 15 minutes and the second part of the exam takes about 20 minutes.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

In order to reduce the risk of infection, patients are to have nothing in the vaginal cavity for 48 hours following the procedure: no douching, swimming, hot tubs, baths (showers only), no sexual intercourse or tampons (only sanitary napkins).

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

No special preparations are required for the following examinations:

  •           arm (and arm Doppler), shoulder, wrist, hand, leg (and leg Doppler), knee, foot, chest
  •           thyroid (non biopsy)
  •           testicular (scrotal)

Nuclear Medicine

What do I need to do to prepare?

We recommend speaking to your referring doctor about any medications you are taking or allergies you may have. Jewelry and other metal objects should not be worn, or should be taken off prior to the exam, as they may interfere with obtaining optimal image quality during the procedure. In some cases, it may be necessary to empty your bladder immediately prior to your scan.

What will I feel during the scan?

Nuclear medicine tests are non-invasive. Some require ingesting or inhaling a dye known as a tracer, or receiving an intravenous injection of the tracer before imaging. Pain is unlikely and is comparable to having your blood taken.

How long will the exam last?

The length of time depends on the type of test being performed, with various tests ranging from 20 minutes (thyroid scan) to 4 hours (myocardial perfusion scan) in duration. An average test will usually require about an hour of your time.

What am I supposed to do after my exam?

There are no post-procedural instructions required and you may resume normal activities. In order to minimize the radiation exposure to patients, you will be encouraged to drink additional fluid and empty your bladder frequently until bed time after having a nuclear medicine procedure.

When can I expect results?

A report will be sent to your doctor within 10 days.

X-Ray

What do I need to do to prepare?

You may be asked to put on a hospital gown, remove clothing, jewelry, and any other items covering the area to be examined.

What will I feel during the exam?

The x-ray does not cause any pain or discomfort.

How long will the exam last?

The length of the exam depends on the type of x-ray exam. Be prepared to spend 10 to 30 minutes in the examination room.

What am I supposed to do after my test is done?

No follow up care is required.

When can I expected results?

A report will be sent to your family doctor within 10 days.