Computed Tomography (CT)

What is CT?

Computed tomography (CT), or CAT scan, captures x-ray pictures of the body from different angles. Specialized computers combine this series of pictures, called “slices,” to create detailed, three-dimensional images of the organs and tissues.

What can you expect during your exam?

When you arrive for the CT exam, you may or may have to have some lab work done to check your kidney function before receiving Iodinated contrast , The technologist will ask you to sign a consent form after obtaining some medical history of allergies, surgeries, etc. and position you on the exam table. Usually you lie on your back. Pillows, pads and straps may be used to keep you comfortable and still during the exam.

Once you are in the proper position, the exam table moves through a donut-shaped scanner (not enclosed) that rotates around your body to capture several images of your body from different angles. It’s important to stay as still as possible to avoid blurry images.

Depending on the area of your body being examined, a contrast dye could be used to improve visibility of certain tissues (especially in areas of the chest, abdomen or pelvis). The dye may be injected into your body intravenously (IV) and/or you will drink some oral contrast the morning of the exam.

A CT scan is painless and generally takes minutes. Sometimes patients are asked to remain present while the images are interpreted to determine if more images are needed.

How can you prepare for your exam?

  • Refrain from eating six hours before your exam.
  • Do not drink liquids two hours before your exam.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing with no zippers and snaps (can affect image quality).
  • Avoid wearing hairpins and jewelry. Prior to the exam, you may be asked to remove items like eyeglasses and hearing aids.
  • Drink the oral contrast if required.
  • Inform your physician if you might be pregnant.