Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How is ViaScan different than other diagnostic imaging centers in doctors offices or hospitals?
ViaScans focus is on prevention and early detection of life threatening health issues so that effective treatment can be used to maintain your health. Diagnostic imaging facilities typically perform scans once symptoms are detected often signifying difficult to treat or advanced stage health related problems.
Secondly, ViaScan uniquely combines 30+ years of expertise in preventive medicine with the most advanced technology to see the earliest stages of potentially life-threatening diseases. You won’t find this type of winning formula at a typical imaging center.
ViaScan’s mission statement is to provide you with the most advanced and safest imaging that will help you maintain great health rather than trying to regain it once it is lost. Advanced life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease and cancers consistently take the lives of so many people many of those in the prime of their lives. The ViaScan difference is definitely worth traveling any distance in order to maintain good health.
2. What is a ViaScan Wellview Body Scan and what does it reveal?
A ViaScan Wellview Body Scan is the most thorough and comprehensive anatomical imaging test offered at Viascan. It includes a scan of the heart, chest and lung areas, as well as the abdominal area.
The scan may reveal if there are visible abnormalities of the heart and its coronary arteries, your chest and lungs, and abdominal organs such as your liver, pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, kidneys. The scan will also be able to see the major abdominal vessels in order to identify aneurysms and other issues with them, as well.
3. Who should have a body scan?
Typically, men over the age of 40 and women over the age of 45 are at the age to benefit from information generated by the Viascan Wellview Body Scan. Incorporating the body scan into your wellness regimen can help you to identify potential problems in your body while they can likely be reversed or even cured. Waiting to become symptomatic before seeking help can result in a more advanced stage of disease where treatment options are more limited.
Men under the age of 40 and women under the age of 45 will need a prescription from a medical provider such as an MD, DO, PA (Physician Assistant), or NP (Nurse Practitioner) in order to receive any ViaScan services. Also, people that weigh more than 300 lbs cannot be scanned due to the weight limitations of the scanner.
4. What is the heart scan?
A ViaScan Heart Scan is a scan of the heart that looks at the coronary arteries to detect the presence or absence of plaque which can accumulate on the inner walls of your arteries. Calcium, a major component of plaque, is scored as a result of this scan. The calcium score is measurement of the calcium plaque that accumulates on the inner walls of the arteries. Studies have shown that the calcium score as the greatest predictor of a future coronary “event” such as a heart attack.
Knowing this score helps you to take measures at the earliest possible point to allow you to maintain good health rather than trying to regain it once it has been lost. Our ViaScan scanner can see heart plaques as small as 0.7 mm in size, providing years or decades advanced warning of a buildup of plaque that may result in a heart attack or require surgery. There is no apple to apple comparisons to the nuclear stress test since it will miss 100% of the early plaque buildup and may only detect an issue once the plaque has reached around a 70% blockage. Traditional Nuclear Stress Tests cannot see the plaque in the arteries and will likely determine the results for anything under 70% to be Normal.
Stress tests do not directly visualize plaque and/or blockage but rather guess about the presence or absence of a significant blockage. Stress tests can provide false positive results indicating significant blockage when, actually, no significant blockage is present. Even worse, stress tests may also reveal a false negative test which means no significant blockage is present when, in reality, there actually IS significant blockage that goes untreated.
Stress tests are not preventive in nature. They are destined to miss the vast majority of heart attacks — as most heart attacks occur with blockages that would not be detected with a stress test. The main problem with stress tests is that treatment is delayed or denied until a blockage is so severe that many times it is too late. ViaScan is the only technology that can see a blockage as small as 0.7 mm — in which case, effective treatment can be administered early that can slow, shrink, or even stop blockage early enough to avert a future heart attack.
5. What is the virtual colonoscopy and how is it different from a traditional colonoscopy?
The ViaScan Virtual Colonoscopy (VC):
- Is much cheaper than the traditional colonoscopy in that it costs about 65%
- Is much faster than the conventional colonoscopy
- Is much less invasive than the conventional colonoscopy in that the Virtual Colonoscopy does not require insertion or maneuvering of long colonoscope throughout the colon
- Does not require anesthesia like a conventional colonoscopy so that you can immediately return to normal activities after it is over.
- Is just as accurate as a traditional colonoscopy
A ViaScan Virtual Colonoscopy (VC) is a medical imaging procedure which uses low radiation x-rays to produce two- and three-dimensional images of the colon (large intestine) from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way to the lower end of the small intestine and display them on a screen. Like traditional colonoscopies, the Viascan VC procedure is used to diagnose colon and bowel disease, including polyps, diverticulosis, and cancer.
However, the ViaScan VC differs from traditional colonoscopies in that it is more comfortable because a colonoscope is NOT inserted into the rectum and transverse around inside the colon. As a result, no sedation is needed during the procedure, and the patient can return to his/her usual activities or go home after the procedure without the aid of another person. Another distinction is that the ViaScan VC does not remove polyps; therefore, if polyps are identified during the ViaScan VC scan, you will need to follow up with your GI doctor. However, it is important to understand the rate of polyp detection for surgery colonoscopies is reported to be 8-10%. Therefore, that means that you have a 90 to 92% chance of finding no polyps that require removal.
Virtual colonoscopies provide a secondary value of added benefit of revealing diseases or abnormalities outside the colon. For example, with a virtual colonoscopy, we view your reproductive organs, bladder, kidneys, abdominal aorta, liver, spleen, gall bladder at no additional charge. Traditional colonoscopies do not provide this view and if performed individually, these scans would cost you additional thousands of dollars.
6. Is the prep the same for a virtual colonoscopy as for a conventional colonoscopy?
No, the detailed instructions are on the Service page under Virtual Colonoscopy. Many people find the prep for the ViaScan VC easier to undergo versus the conventional colonoscopy prep.
7. What other types of scans can I get?
The other types of scans that Viascan offers are:
- Heart & Lung Scan:
Visualizes heart plaque and lung diseases including lung cancer that if found at Stage I can be cured
Visualizes pancreas, liver, gall bladder, spleen, kidneys and major abdominal vessels for cancers & aneurysms
Visualizes bladder & reproductive organs for abnormalities such as cysts, tumors, & cancers
Visualizes heart & lungs
- Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) Heart Angiogram (*Requires an order from a Healthcare Provider — such as an MD, DO, PA, or NP):
Provides precise information regarding the presence/absence of heart blockages, the percentage of the blockage, and the specific location of heart blockages. The ViaScan EBT Heart Angiogram also provides important information about whether the blockage(s) might need a stent or a coronary bypass or determine whether previous therapeutics have been effective. However, the cost of ViaScan’s non-invasive EBT angiogram is about 85% lower than conventional invasive angiograms.
You can do any of these individual scans or any combination of these for your improved health and peace of mind!
8. How does the safety and speed of the ViaScan Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) compare with a conventional scan?
This exam differs from a conventional CT scan in safety and speed. Our Viascan examination is performed using an ultra-fast Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBT) scanner. ViaScan EBT is the only scanner in North Texas with ultra-low radiation. Comparable scanners, like the 64 slice or 128 slice CT scanners widely used by imaging facilities, subject you to 90% more radiation. In practical terms, the radiation exposure with ViaScan exposure with ViaScan’s EBT is similar to radiation that women receive during a mammogram leading some to refer to ViaScan as the mammogram of the heart.
ViaScan also differs from all other normal 64 or 128 CT scanners regarding speed. ViaScan’s EBT scanner is faster than any other conventional CT scanner in the world. Speed is of utmost importance generating clean pictures of a moving target such as the heart and lungs leading some to state that EBT is the gold standard for accuracy visualizing heart plaque as small as 0.7 mm.
9. How do I need to prepare for the appointment?
* Download and bring completed paperwork from the website (patient forms)
If you choose not to complete the paperwork prior to appointment, please arrive 15 minutes early. If you can, please email your completed paperwork to firstname.lastname@example.org or we will gladly accept your faxed paperwork to 972-739-2854.
* If you are 15 or more minutes late, we will need to reschedule your appointment
* Dress comfortably
For women, it is best to wear a sports bra without metal
* Be sure not to have any food at least 4 hours prior to appointment.
* Do not consume any caffeine at least 4 hours prior to appointment
* Prescriptions that are required for the following tests listed below must be faxed prior to appointment to 972-739-2854 for:
All Virtual Colonoscopy patients,
All Heart Angiogram patients,
All male patients under age 40 and
All female patients under age 45
10. How do I prepare for a body scan?
* Heart, Lung or Carotid scans
Four hours no caffeine
* Body Scan
Please fast for 4 hours before your scan
Nothing to eat but may drink any non-caffeinated fluid
Once you eat something, your gall bladder shrinks and makes it difficult for the scan to detect gall stones. Wear normal clothing.
You will be asked to remove metallic objects in your clothing before the test.
For the body scan or heart scan, there are no injections or contract dyes involved, no exercise requirements and no need to undress.
* Virtual Colonoscopy
11. What can I expect during my visit?
When you arrive for your appointment, you will be greeted warmly by our ViaScan staff and signed in. If your paperwork is completed and received by our front desk, then you will be called back to review your history and obtain your weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, and cholesterol screening which is optional.
This part of the appointment will last only a few minutes. For consideration of other patients, we do ask that you silent or mute your cell phones during your visit.
Also, in order to make sure that everyone’s time is used efficiently, we also request that patients use the restroom before they are scanned. We want your experience here at ViaScan to be as wonderful as possible so that you will want to incorporate ViaScan into your annual wellness regimen.
After that, you will be ready for your scan where your technician will take very good care of you. You will find that the scan to be an easy procedure.
The most difficult aspect is that you will need to be able to hold your breath for 30-40 seconds in order to capture the best images. Depending on the type of scan, you should be on the scanner for 20 to 30 minutes.
After you are scanned, you will meet with John Duncan, Ph.D, our Founder and CEO will go over your results in a comprehensive consultation with you. You also have the option to purchase a CD. The consultation should take approximately 20 to 60 minutes and the overall process should take you 1 to 2 hours.
After your Appointment:
You will receive a board certified radiologist report a few days after your appointment.
12. Does insurance cover ViaScan?
The following scans have covered reimbursable insurance codes; including heart scan, (age requirement 45 years or older for men and 55 years or older for women), lung scan (for current or former tobacco users), virtual colonoscopy (age requirement of 55 years or older) and CT Angiogram (requires a physician’s order).
However, in order to keep ViaScan’s prices low for everyone, ViaScan does not file insurance. We do provide a copy of a Superbill that you can file with your insurance provider so that you can be reimbursed directly by your insurance company. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover preventive scans offered by ViaScan.
13. How can I pay for my services at ViaScan?
Our policy is to collect full payment at the time that the appointment is scheduled. For your convenience, we currently accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) payments.
ViaScan also offers 1-4 month 0% interest payment plans to provide as many people options who wish to access ViaScan advanced preventive/wellness imaging an opportunity to maintain their good health.
14. Does the scan cover the brain?
Our ViaScan Wellview Body Scan covers the shoulders to the pelvis. It does not cover the brain as the MRI is still the best imaging tool to see the brain.