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 detailed imaging of the body.
CAT scans can be performed on all body parts, most commonly on the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis. Once a scan is completed, one of our board-certified Radiologists interprets the findings and reports back to your ordering provider. With exams that require immediate attention, our Radiologist will contact your physician or representatives to relay urgent results.
What type of CAT scan do you have?
Advanced Medical Imaging uses a Siemens 64 multi-slice CAT scan.
The CT scanner looks like a machine with a large opening in the middle, called a gantry. The patient lies on a padded table, which moved through the opening while images are acquired. All of these images are stored digitally in an archive system, which the Radiologist views and interprets. A written report is then sent to your provider.
Recent advances in computerized technology now make it possible to perform Virtual Colonoscopies. This is a CT scan which requires similar preparation as the conventional colonoscopy the exam. Unlike conventional endoscopy, however, a CT virtual colon screen is not invasive, does not require patient sedation and takes minutes to complete. The average patient will not need a ride home.
How do I prepare for a CT?
If you are having a CT of the abdomen or pelvis with oral contrast, 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 not having oral contrast you may drink a normal amount of fluids up until your exam.
If you are having any other type of CT exam, you may drink fluids up until your exam unless other instructions are given.
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. 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 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 CT scan exams require 30 minutes from registration to completion.
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. The intravenous contrast for a CT scan is similar to contrast given during a heart catherization angiogram, myelogram, or intravenous pyelogram (older test used for kidney stones).
Rarely, some patients may have an allergic reaction to the contrast. Patients who are allergic to the contrast may experience itching, sneezing, wheezing, swelling or other allergic symptoms, if you are allergic or become allergic inform your referring provider. If you are allergic to CT Scan IV contrast but must be given the contrast medium for diagnosis, 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 inform us if you know or think you are allergic to CT scan contrast.
Patients who have diabetes or renal disease require special care. These patients should consult with their physician about proper scheduling of the CT scan.
All patients receiving either oral or IV contrast should drink extra fluids the following few days to help flush the contrast from your body. IV contrast is clear and is excreted as regular urine. The oral contrast is white to off white and might have a mild laxative effect.