About your CT Exam

Computed Tomography (CT) combines X-ray equipment with computer technology to allow physicians to see organs and tissues within your body. CT utilizes an X-ray tube that rotates around you while passing a narrow beam of X-ray through the area of your body to be scanned.  The data received from within your body is analyzed by a computer and images are created. These images are viewed on a monitor and become a permanent record of your exam. CT creates images of thin cross-sections or “planes” of your body allowing your physician to diagnose a variety of conditions.

Preparing for your CT Exam

Please take medications as usual.

Depending upon the CT exam scheduled, you may need to prepare for your exam as follows:

Head and Neck Exams

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to your exam.

Abdomen and Pelvis Exams

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to your exam. You will usually be required to drink a barium substance to outline your digestive system before your exam. Your physician’s office may supply the barium and instructions. If not, please call us to obtain it. Certain exams may require additional preparation, of which your physician’s office will inform you.

Chest Exams

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to your exam. Clothing containing metal should be removed. You may be asked to swallow some barium to outline your esophagus.

Please inform your physician of any of the following, which may interfere with your CT exam:

  • Medications or dietary constraints
  • History of allergies, especially to iodine
  • Do you take Metformin or a product containing Metformin, such as Glucophage?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • If you have had barium studies of your stomach or colon within 48 hours prior to your CT exam, please inform your physician beforehand or inform the CT technologist when you arrive for your exam.
  • Take medications as usual, with minimal water. If you are taking pain medication, please do so 30 minutes prior to your CT exam.

During your CT Exam

Your exam will take approximately 30 minutes to be completed. The technologist will assist you onto the scanning table, which will move as images are being taken. You will not feel anything from the scanner itself, but you will hear the sounds of the scanner working. In some cases, the physician may order an injection of contrast into a vein in your arm. It is common for the contrast to cause a temporary flush or a metallic taste in your mouth. Please report these, or any other symptoms, to the technologist. The technologist can see and hear you at all times and is readily available to assist you. At the conclusion of your exam, the technologist will help you off the table.

After your CT Exam

A radiologist will interpret the images produced from your exam and will forward a report to your physician. Your physician will inform you of the results.

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