What is a CT?

A computed tomography (CT) scan is a relatively simple, safe, and completely painless examination that radiologists have performed for many years. The scan produces a series of images and can detect many conditions that do not show up on conventional x-ray. During the scan, sensors detect thin beams of x-rays that pass through the body to produce small cross-sectional images. The computer then analyzes the information and constructs an image on a TV screen. During some CT scans, a contrast (commonly called “dye”) is used to outline blood vessels or highlight organs of the body so that they can be seen more easily.

What is contrast?

Often a CT will be ordered “with contrast”. Contrast is a liquid that is used to better see the organs being examined. The contrast material may be either consumed (oral) or injected (IV). In some studies, both oral and IV contrast may be necessary. Patients may feel warm or flush for about two minutes after the contrast is injected. Please inform the CT technologist if you are allergic to dye or iodine. You may be required to have blood drawn prior to your procedure if contrast is to be administered.

How long does a CT scan take?

Most CT scans take between 15 and 30 minutes.

Are there any restrictions to prevent me from having a CT?

There are very few restrictions that would prevent you from having your CT.

  • If you have a known allergy to Intravenous (IV) Contrast, your exam may be rescheduled.
    • Your referring physician should be made aware of any allergies to medication or food you have. The CT technologist will review a completed questionnaire of your information before having the study to ensure that no restrictions are present to prevent you from having the study.
  • If you are or may be pregnant, the procedure may be rescheduled.

Is there any preparation for my CT?

If you have any questions regarding preparation, please call the facility.

Before the study:

Some CT procedures (Abdomen &/or Pelvis) may require oral contrast the day before the exam. If oral contrast is recommended, please follow the instructions by our staff. This will help create the best diagnostic images for your study. Some medications may require special instructions. Please follow the recommended instructions by staff without incident.

Day of Study:

The day of your study, you may be advised NOT to eat anything 4 hours prior to your appointment. Please follow the instructions accordingly without incident. When arriving for the study, it is highly recommended that you wear loose and comfortable clothing that does not have any metal. All jewelry, removable dental work, eyewear, hearing devices, and other metal objects may require removal before the exam is performed.

After the Study:

You may be advised to drink plenty of water for 24 to 48 hours after having oral &/or IV contrast. Some medications may require you to delay taking them. You will be advised accordingly of any limitations after your study.

What can I expect?

You will be asked to lie down on a table as the technologist positions the area to be studied inside the scanner’s doughnut-shaped ring. The technologist may apply some lead shielding if it doesn’t interfere with the region being evaluated. In addition to routine shielding, special shielding may also be applied which reduces the amount of radiation exposure to those areas even more. As the exam begins you will hear humming, buzzing or clicking sounds from the machine. You may be asked to follow simple breathing instructions. You can help ensure a successful exam by being very still throughout the duration of the scan.