CT Scan

What is CT?
Computerized Axial Tomography, sometimes referred to as a CAT scan or CT scan, is a patient-friendly exam that involves little radiation exposure while producing cross- sectional images of the body.

CAT scans can be performed on all body parts, most commonly on the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis. Often, no additional diagnostic work-up is necessary and patient treatment can begin immediately. Once a scan is completed, a board certified radiologist interprets the findings of the scan and reports them back to your referring physician.

What type of CT do you have?
Advanced Medical Imaging uses the latest multislice CT technology.

The CT scanner looks like a large bagel tipped on its side, called a gantry, and a table, which can be elevated while the patient moves through the “bagel hole”. A CT room also contains a control area located adjacent to the scanning table. This control area is where the technologist can communicate with the patient, plan the study, check and film the study and electronically transmit the images to the radiologist’s workstation.

Recent advances in computerized technology now make it possible to perform Virtual Colonoscopies. This is a CT scan which, much like an endoscopic colonoscopy, requires a special diet and prep the day prior to the test. Unlike conventional endoscopy, however, a CT virtual colon screen is not invasive, does not require patient sedation and takes minutes to complete.

How do I prepare for a CT?
If you are having a CT of the abdomen or pelvis, do not eat or drink for 3 hours prior to the exam. You may have small amounts of water, if needed, to take medications only. You may be asked to arrive early by our schedulers to drink the necessary oral contrast.

If you are having any other type of CT exam, please do not eat for one hour prior to your exam.

How is a CT done?
During the study, you will be asked to lie on a table that rides on a track through the scanner. You will hear humming, buzzing or clicking sounds from the CT machine. The table will move in short steps through the scanner as the CT tube rotates around you. The information is processed by the computer and displayed as images on a video screen to the technologist.

Please remain as still as possible to produce the best images. Depending upon the procedure being performed, you may be asked to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds. Most exams require 30 minutes to complete.

If you are given intravenous contrast, you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth and a warm sensation throughout your body. These sensations are harmless and subside within a few moments.

Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the contrast medium, which is iodine-based. Patients who are allergic to iodine may experience itching, sneezing or other allergic symptoms in response. If you are allergic to iodine but must be given contrast medium to produce the proper test results, your physician may choose to pre-medicate you with steroids or other drugs. Anyone experiencing such a reaction will be treated before being released to go home. In rare cases, the contrast medium can trigger anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction in which the tissues of the airway become swollen enough to restrict breathing. In such cases, emergency treatment is immediately given. Please let us know if you know or think you are allergic to iodine.

Patients who have diabetes or renal disease require special care. These patients should consult with their physician about proper scheduling of the CT scan. After your procedure, your physician will receive a copy of your report within 24 hours.