Requesting Your Client’s Digital Data for CTs, MRIs & MRAs

Contact the radiologist who signed the report or a colleague at the Radiology Department, as opposed to the Medical Records department. Confirm the facility can provide the patient’s studies on CD (preferable) or on Magneto-Optical Disc (MOD). Facilities don’t typically charge much (ex. $20) to provide a CD. A MOD may cost more initially (ex. $50-$100)–and it will entail an additional $475 conversion cost.

To create 3D Volume Renderings from CT scans, a spiral, multi-slice scanner must have been employed. To create them from MRI scans, 3D or volumetric scans should have been executed or, at the least, scans with no interslice gap. Request images formatted in DICOM or DICOM3. This is standard technology.

Request everything, not just selected images. Request all series and images that were obtained (every single image, including scout images). Request reformatted images and retrospective reconstructions, as well as originally reconstructed CT algorithms. As a rule, the more data provided the better the Volume Rendering will be. Request the original, uncompressed DICOM files — we cannot create Volume Renderings from medical images that have been compressed into a viewing software ex. BRIT.

In the future we advise you to always ask for a CD or MOD in addition to films. This will help you confirm the full extent of an injury at minimal cost. For most patients one CD or MOD will hold the study. You’ll be able to burn unlimited copies of the CD at your office.

For clients with multiple scanning studies, medQuest, Ltd. can assist you in requesting and/or selecting the best available study for 3D purposes. If you require assistance in dealing with a healthcare facility regarding any of these issues, please call medQuest, Ltd. at (800) 633-6251.

Important note:

When suitable digital data of past CTs, MRIs and MRAs is unobtainable, 3D Volume Renderings are impossible. In this event, when appropriate (ex. the injury or condition is still evident), an attorney should consider sending the client — with these printed guidelines — to a suitable radiological facility for a new scan. Fresh scans often make superior renderings, as the radiologist, once alerted, will obtain additional data for a superior rendering. New data and any Volume Renderings should then be sent to the client’s treating physician or to an expert witness, which will ultimately facilitate admissibility at trial.