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Frequently asked questions

Learn more about the Prenuvo scan experience, our technology, and who is eligible.

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Approximately what percentage of customers get an "all-clear" result?

Nearly all of us have abnormalities and findings. For example, as a generation of people who spend a lot of time sitting (using computers, cell phones, watching tv) we diagnose some degree of spine degeneration in almost everyone. Many of us have benign findings that are useful to be aware of when we are healthy so that they are not mistaken for something more serious later on. Importantly, less than 5% of customers receive "life-altering" news.

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.

Are there any restrictions on what I can drink on the day of the scan?

No. You can drink water, tea or black coffee. 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.

Are there size or weight restrictions for doing a Prenuvo scan?

Our Open Bore MRI accommodates up to 550 pounds (249 Kg).

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 be scanned if I have an implantable infusion pump?

It depends on the model. Some infusion pumps are MRI compatible. Regardless, we check the MRI safety of all devices. We will need to know the model before your scan.

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 ensure that the scan is appropriate for them.

Can I buy a gift certificate for a scan?

Yes, please contact us at +1-833-773-6886 or hello@prenuvo.com 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.

Can I do an MRI if I am pregnant (or think I might be pregnant)?

No detrimental effects have been shown to have occurred due to having an MRI when pregnant. There is, however, a risk of causing hearing problems in the fetus. MRI can also increase the amniotic fluid temperature. Therefore, we avoid performing an MRI when you are pregnant unless your referring doctor decides the benefit of the MRI outweighs the potential risks associated with having the scan.

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.

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 many different types of implants. We will need to know more about what you have. The good news is that almost all implants are MRI-safe. There is a chance the implant will affect the images we can get from the surrounding tissues.

Can I have an MRI if I have an IUD?

Yes. Almost all IUDs are MRI-safe. Regardless, we check the MRI safety of all devices. Common MRI-safe IUDs are the Mirena and the Copper T.

Can I have an MRI if I have an implanted neurostimulator?

It depends on the model. Some neurostimulators have an MRI mode that they can be put into before the scan. We will need to know the model before your scan.

Can I have an MRI if I have an intracranial aneurysm clip?

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 epilepsy?

MRI generally is not advised for patients with epilepsy.

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.

Can I have an MRI if 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 move when I am on the machine?

We will make you as comfortable as possible for the scan so it should minimize the need to move. However, 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 weightings. If you move it affects our ability to align all these images and therefore affects the accuracy of our reading.

Can you tell me more about the Chief Radiologist at Prenuvo?

Dr. Attariwala, MD, Ph.D. is a dual board-certified radiologist and nuclear medicine physician who is certified in both Canada and the United States and he has given numerous presentations at 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).

Can you tell me more about your false-positive rate?

A false positive in imaging is when a finding is reported to be present when it is not. For example, a test designed to detect cancer returns a positive result when the person does not have cancer. In one of our clinical studies, we had 4 false-positive findings out of 1000 patients. This was a single-site study and we are in the process of repeating that in a second site under an independent investigator. There is no perfect test, however we are committed to learning from any false positives that we do have to minimize the likelihood of them recurring in future studies.

Do I need a referral?

Yes. You must have a referral to have a Prenuvo scan. If you require, we can arrange a referral from an independent medical practitioner at no cost to you. It may seem like an unnecessary requirement, but it exists to look after you in the event there is a serious medical finding. A medical practitioner can assist you in understanding and contextualizing any finding.

Do dental implants get affected by MRIs?

No. It is safe to have an MRI while dental implants are installed.

Do you accept credit card payments?

Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

Do you accept personal cheques or cash?

We do accept cash, but we regret that we are unable to accept personal cheques.

Do you add GST to the cost of my Prenuvo scan?

GST is not levied on medical expenditures, including the Prenuvo scan.

Do you offer financing?

We offer 3rd party financing through Paybright in Canada and Affirm in the US for most locations.

Do you take a deposit to secure an appointment?

Yes. We take payment to guarantee your appointment time and date. Last-minute cancellations cannot always be filled.

Do you use contrast in your MRIs?

We never offer contrast on any of Prenuvo scans. We believe the combination of sequences that we take performs as well as contrast-enhanced MRI for tumor detection.

Does your MRI use radiation?

No. All MRIs are radiation-free.

Does your clinic provide referrals to top specialists and doctors locally and abroad?

We can provide you with some recommendations of specialists who we have previously worked with. Unfortunately, we cannot refer you to a specialist directly. However, we want to collaborate with any of the medical professionals you have and would be happy to work with your doctor to make sure that you are taken care of.

Does your clinic retain a copy of the scans and/or store that information?

We follow British Columbia legislation which requires us to keep a copy of your images and reports for 25 years.

How are you different from other whole body MRI services?

There are so many differences between a Prenuvo scan and other whole body MRI services that we generally don't make comparisons. - Sequences and filters used – To make sure that there is a low false-positive rate, it is essential to image your body with multiple filters. Most other whole body providers do not use many filters in their screening protocol. In our protocol, this is the key to our low false-positive rate. - Quantity and quality of the images — We get up to 2000 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 toe during one 60-75min scan. Other providers scan parts of the body and “glue” the parts together to create whole body scan. - Price – Our services are less expensive than our competitors.

How can you detect Alzheimer's disease?

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, no single imaging test can detect Alzheimer's, as it requires a clinical cognitive exam, however using detailed MRI images of segments of the brain, we can start to see the loss of tissue in concerning areas of the temporal lobes. This tissue loss is even more specific when it occurs over subsequent scans. Third, we use these images as a baseline for your brain volume and then can compare this to your next reading taken when you come in for future scans. Any changes in brain volume will be apparent.

How do I make an appointment?

You can make an appointment right here on the website by clicking "Book an appointment" on the top right corner of this page. You can also give us a call at +1-833-773-6886 or send us an email at hello@prenuvo.com.

How do your company and the clinic manage any and all information gathered from your clients and or patients?

We are very protective of your information. We strive to be at the forefront of compliance for the security of patient information and adhere to privacy regulations and legislation in the jurisdictions we operate. The confidential information which we store is accessible only by a small number of staff who must have a reason to access the information. Any staff access to patient-identifiable data is logged and stored by the company.

How does your scan compare to 3T MRIs?

Bigger is not always better. A 3T MRI is a great option for a detailed brain study. Unfortunately, 3T performs poorly for whole body imaging due to wavelength interference (physics!) and imaging artifacts (more physics!). Additionally, a 3T MRI increases the body temperature too much. Therefore, for safety reasons they are used for single body parts. As we specialize in whole body imaging, we use a 1.5T MRI.

How effective is the Prenuvo scan for breast cancer versus mammography?

These screens work very well together. Mammography is capable of seeing small micro-calcifications in the breast that MRI does not see. Breast calcifications are well visualized on mammograms. Although breast calcifications are usually noncancerous (benign), certain patterns of calcifications — such as tight clusters with irregular shapes and fine appearances may indicate breast cancer or precancerous changes to breast tissue. Our MRI scan, on the other hand, is capable of seeing breast cancer more clearly through dense breast tissue which mammograms struggle to do.

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 at +1-833-773-6886 or emailing us at hello@prenuvo.com

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 corner of the page.

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 delays, particularly around the holidays. If we think your report will be delayed we will let you know in advance.

How should I dress for the scan?

There is no need to dress in a particular way for your scan day. You will be given a set of scrubs (top and bottom) to wear during your scan. You can leave on your underwear.

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 can request a mild sedative from your referring doctor to have with you for your Prenuvo scan. If necessary for your comfort, we can also reduce the scan time, but this will reduce the diagnostic value of the scan slightly. In all cases, we regret that your deposit is non-refundable or transferable if you are unable to go through with your Prenuvo scan on the day.

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.

If I do a Prenuvo scan do I still need to do a colonoscopy?

While unpleasant, a colonoscopy is a very good examination of the colon. It is able to see and remove precancerous polyps before they have the opportunity to develop into cancer. On occasion, a colonoscopy may not be able to visualize all the way through the colon. Similarly, the Prenuvo scan may not always see small polyps in the colon as they will be mixed in with the 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 backup to a colonoscopy, not as a replacement for it.

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 are concerned you are experiencing a heart attack, then you should request a CT study (after calling 911). However, the Prenuvo scan can look for evidence of atherosclerotic disease, 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 small vessel ischemia in the brain then there is a high probability of having atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries of the heart.

Is a CT or MRI better at finding tumors?

MRI. A CT scan has a problem differentiating tumors. This is because a CT focuses on density. The density of a tumor is not greatly different from the density of a cyst but has a vastly different significance. A CT scan can miss many tumors and equally concerning, can more often lead to additional testing when it is unnecessary. Importantly, CT scans cannot accurately assess breast tumors or liver tumors.

Is a CT or MRI better at finding tumors?

MRI. A CT scan has a problem differentiating tumors. This is because a CT focuses on density. The density of a tumor is not greatly different from the density of a cyst but has a vastly different significance. A CT scan can miss many tumors and equally concerning, can more often lead to additional testing when it is unnecessary. Importantly, CT scans cannot accurately assess breast tumors or liver tumors.

Is it possible to have a bathroom break during the scan?

In most cases, no. Of course, if it is an emergency we will get you out of there to go to the toilet. But the high accuracy of our Prenuvo scan relies on us imaging the same tissue in your body in 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 should limit how much you drink or take some medication to ensure you can last the duration of the scan.

Is the Prenuvo scan covered by extended insurance?

Typically, a Prenuvo scan is not covered by extended insurance. Some customers have had success claiming part of the scan fee with their insurer, but this is not commonplace. We are working with insurers to educate them on the advantages of the Prenuvo scan but it is unlikely that there will be changes in the short term.

Is the Prenuvo scan covered by the health system?

Not at this time. We are at the cutting edge of revolutionizing whole body screening. While many studies are showing the effectiveness of whole body MRI, no public facility is conducting these examinations. It might take years, unfortunately, for MSP/healthcare plans to cover preventative MRI scans, especially with the huge backlog of diagnostic scans at this time.

Is the Prenuvo scan tax-deductible?

Medical expenditures like the Prenuvo scan are typically tax-deductible. For example, it is tax-deductible in British Columbia and you are effectively paying for your Prenuvo scan out of your pre-tax income.

Is the deposit refundable or transferable?

Yes. Your deposit is 100% refundable or transferable up to three business days before your appointment. The time and date before you must cancel your appointment while retaining your deposit, is included in the email confirmation we send you. After that time we regret that your deposit is no longer refundable or transferable.

Is there an age you recommend people be screened by/around?

Ultimately, the choice comes down to you. If you have a strong family history of cancer or major disease then a Prenuvo scan at a younger age makes sense. The incidence of cancer goes up with age, starting at approximately 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 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.

Is your scan more accurate than a PET scan?

PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography) is rarely used to screen for cancer. PET-CT is expensive and subjects you to both gamma and X-ray radiation. The PET portion of PET-CT uses gamma radiation to detect the metabolic activity of a tumor. The CT portion obtains many X-ray images which are overlaid on the PET images to assist in determining the exact location of the tumor in the body. PET has limited use in the kidneys, ureters, and bladder because the radioactive injection is excreted through the urinary system and is highly concentrated in these areas during the scan. The Prenuvo scan does not have these issues and is therefore, more sensitive than PET-CT for tumors of the urinary system.

What does the medical report contain?

We produce a detailed medical report for your physician that walks them through every system and organ in the body and identifies any abnormal findings we identify. This is produced in a format that they are familiar with.

What does the patient report contain?

You will receive web and mobile app access to your images as well as a patient-friendly report. Your patient report will include information on the different systems, organs, and conditions we screen including recommendations that will empower both you and your physician to make the best decisions regarding your health.

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 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.

What if I have an emergency during the scan?

You will be provided with a squeeze ball at the start of the scan. You can squeeze this at any time to alert the technologist performing your scan.

What if I need special accommodations for my appointment?

We are happy to do our best to accommodate you. Please give us a call at +1-833-773-6886 to discuss your needs.

What if I need to change my appointment?

We have a strict 3 business day cancellation policy. Provided that you contact us more than three business days before your scheduled scan, at which time your deposit becomes non-refundable and non-transferable, we are happy to accommodate changes or refund your deposit.

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, CT scans can only report a "possible 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. CT scans show densities such as coronary artery calcifications, and this is the main benefit from a CT over an MRI. The MRI shows more precise imaging for brain, brain arteries (which are not imaged at all on a non-contrast, enhanced CT), as well as every organ in the neck, breasts, abdomine, and pelvis. CT would be better for assessing the esophagus, lung, and stomach. The major downside of a CT scan is that it uses a high dose of radiation. For example, a CT scan uses up to 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 ionizing 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 difficult to compare ultrasound to MRI. There are a few areas where ultrasound really shines — notably in confirming kidney stones because MRI is less able to see calcification. But it suffers from a poor field of vision (kind of like shining a light 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 the bowel. An MRI is a completely different modality. It is three-dimensional so if you see something of interest, you know exactly what organ it is in. And we don't just take run-of-the-mill MRIs. We take many different tissue weightings which means, not only can we determine that "something is there" but we can distinguish if that something is a hematoma, cyst, abscess, or solid tumor.

What is your clinic’s policy on the 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 privacy regulations and legislation in the jurisdictions we operate.

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.

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 harmless, 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 as it is acquiring the images. We will offer you some headphones or earplugs to reduce the noise. You can also choose to listen to music to help pass the time. We can set a playlist for you, or we can plug in your music, it is up to you! The technologist who operates the scanner will be observing you from the adjacent room throughout the scan. It is important to remain still when images are being acquired.

What specific sequences do you use in the Prenuvo scans?

We perform a comprehensive set of protocols that image the entire body. These include brain quantification, arterial assessment, fat quantification 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 that offer the most comprehensive diagnostic imaging in a reasonable time frame. We currently utilize Siemens hardware in all locations.

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.

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.

Why don't you image the heart in great detail?

We don't image the heart in great detail because of the time it takes to do a good cardiac study. A good cardiac study takes around 40 minutes and this would not include images of the coronary arteries.

Will I learn anything on the day of the scan?

Usually, it takes up to 5-10 business days for a radiologist to read your scans. This is because there are up to 2000 images to get through and all need to be checked 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.

Will the scan results will be put into my insurer’s medical records?

Not by Prenuvo. Our only requirement is to send your medical report to your referring doctor. We do not submit the report to any health or insurance system.