CT scanning - sometimes called CAT scanning - is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT imaging combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. These cross-sectional images of the area being studied can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed.
CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.
Having a successful exam
CT scans are very quick but require you to lie on your back for up to 30 minutes.
Some exams require the administration of IV contrast (some times called "dye"). Most of these type of exams will have the contrast administered through a vein in your arm.
If you are having a CT scan without intravenous contrast or oral contrast, there is no real preparation. You may need to change into a gown for the exam depending on the type of clothing and any metal or dense material that might inhibit the scan.
If you are having a CT scan of your abdomen or pelvis, there is a chance you may be required to drink oral contrast. The oral contrast can be picked up at either of our locations and is used to help differentiate bowel tissue on the scan.
If your CT scan required intravenous (IV) contrast, you will need to have lab work to show how well your kidneys function (specifically, your creatinine and BUN lab values). Your doctor is aware of this requirement and will order the lab work for you. Please make sure the lab work is completed no earlier than 30 days prior to your exam and no later than 2 days prior to your exam. On the day of your exam, please do not eat solid food for 4 hours prior to your exam. Please drink plenty of fluids prior to your exam to assure you are well hydrated. You can take your normal medication prior to the exam. If you take Metformin (in any form) for diabetes, you will be asked to discontinue this medication after your exam for 48 hours.