Computed Tomography (CT)
What Is a CT?
Computed Tomography is sometimes called a CT or CAT scan. It is a scan/exam where a narrow beam of radiation spins around the body inside a large, “donut” appearing structure, and produces high-resolution image slices of the inside of the body, the blood vessels, and the bones. The image slices can be stacked and reformatted into any angle or plane with a computer after the initial set is acquired to give detailed information about any injury or pathology.
What Can I Expect During My CT Scan?
You will be comfortably positioned lying down and the body part to be imaged will be moved in and out through the “donut” several times. You may be required to hold your breath during these movements to get motionless images. Scans do not require your entire body to be inside the scan “donut.”
Some scans ordered require contrast for portions of the test for more detailed images. Two types can be used: an oral barium may be required to drink before you can be scanned. You will then have to wait for an hour for it to move through your system. The second is given via an I.V. injection and is an iodinated contrast with iodine as its base. If so, your kidney function will need to be accessed before your CT scan, you will need blood work performed for this assessment. This will be discussed when the schedular calls to make your appointment.
Some people are allergic to iodinated contrast. You will be thoroughly assessed via paperwork, interview, and blood work to limit this exposure.
CT scans are very quick, typically 3-10 minutes in duration.