What is CT?

CT (computed tomography) uses x-ray and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. CT imaging is useful because it can show several types of tissue, such as lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels.

What are some common uses of CT?

•Diagnose and treat cancer
•Plan and properly administer radiation treatments for tumors.
•Guide biopsies and other minimally invasive procedures.
•Plan surgery.
•Diagnose spinal problems.
•Identify injuries to the liver, spleen, kidneys, brain or other internal organs.
•Detect vascular disease that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

How should I prepare for a CT scan?

•Bring a copy of the order for the procedure from your referring physician, your insurance card, and photo identification.
•On the day of your exam, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
•Avoid clothing with metal zippers, hair pins, jewelry and snaps as these objects can obscure the image.
•Drink plenty of clear fluids, but do not eat solid food for 3 hours before the examination.
•Patients scheduled for abdominal and/or pelvic studies should arrive 30 minutes early to drink oral contrast material used to better visualize the stomach and intestines.
•Take your usual medications.
•Women should inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

 

What should I expect during this exam?

A CT examination usually takes five to ten minutes.

•The technologist will properly position you on the CT table. To enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels contrast material may be required. Depending on the type of examination, contrast material may be injected through an IV, swallowed or administered by enema. Before administering the contrast material, you should inform the radiologist or technologist of the following:
-Any allergies, especially to contrast material.
-Whether you have a history of diabetes, asthma, myeloma, kidney problems, or heart conditions. These conditions may indicate a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or potential problems eliminating the material after the exam.

•You will be alone in the room during your scan however the technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times.

•During the injection of intravenous contrast material you may experience a warm flushed sensation or a metallic taste. If you have a contrast allergy you might develop, sneezing, itching, or hives. Very rarely a patient becomes short of breath, develops low blood pressure or has swelling in the throat or another part of the body, indicating a more serious reaction to contrast material that must be promptly treated. If you experience any of these symptoms, inform the technologist immediately.

What should I do after the examination?

•When your examination is over, you may resume your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. One of our board-certified radiologists will review the images and send a report to your physician. You can discuss the results of your examination with your physician.