What is a CT SCAN?
Computed Tomography (CT) is an x-ray technique that uses a special scanner and computer to create a cross-sectional images of parts of your bodies (somewhat like slices of bread).
What can I expect during the exam?
When you enter the exam room, you will be asked to lie on the scanner table. A Radiologic Technologist, who is trained in the use of this specialized equipment, will assist you into the correct position. The table will then be moved into the scanner’s opening to perfectly align the portion of your head or body to be studied. After each image is taken, the table will advance slightly to scan the next portion. The cross-sectional images are taken by the computer, somewhat like “slices of bread.”
As you are moved through the scanner, relax and remain still as possible. If a scan of your chest or abdomen is being done, you will be asked to hold your breath with each picture. This is to avoid any blurring of the image created by breathing movements. Each picture takes only 5 seconds to complete. The technologist will tell you when to breath.
How long will my CT exam take?
The length of your CT exam depends on your needs. An exam of the head averages 30 minutes; a spine, body exam, a chest exam, and an abdomen or pelvis exam with contrast averages to 45 minutes.
What will happen following my CT exam?
You may resume regular diet and medication schedule immediately after the exam, unless new instruction will be given by the physician.
How do I find out the results of my CT scan?
Your CT scan will be reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist will then report the results to your physician, who will discuss the findings with you.
How do I prepare for my CT SCAN?
Preparation varies depending on the CT exam you are having. You may be given contrast media to highlight a certain body area.
For CT scans requiring Oral Contrast
- Please take one a bottle (500mL) of Barium Sulfate 1 hour before your CT scan is scheduled.
- Take one glass of Barium Sulfate before you are brought to the examination room.
It is important that the entire amount of contrast be taken to ensure your test is complete. Please do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the examination. Medications can be taken.
For CT scans requiring Intravenous Contrast
- Blood work is required prior to giving IV contrast.
- Intravenous dye may cause warm sensations throughout your body.
- Final consideration for IV contrast is dependent upon the radiologist.