CT (computed tomography) Scan

A CT (computed tomography) scan, sometimes referred to as a "CAT" (computed axial tomography) scan is a safe and painless procedure used to capture high resolution cross-sectional images of the entire body from head to toe. During the scan, the body part/region of concern will be passed through the round scanner, also known as the gantry. Using low dose x-rays, the CT scanner will take pictures of your body from multiple angles and provide a 360 degree, 3-dimensional rendering of your body.

Technology / Equipment

Toshiba 128 Detector (slice) Aquillion scanner. This scanner has a 450 lbs maximum table weight limit.

Exam Preparations

Do not eat four hours prior to your study. However, we recommend you stay well hydrated with water 24 hours prior to your exam and drink plenty of water they day of your exam. You may take your medications with water. Some patients may be asked to drink oral contrast before their study depending on the part of the body being imaged. Typically, we ask patients to arrive one hour in advance to drink oral contrast; however some patients may receive oral contrast in advance with instructions specific to their study. In some cases, no oral contrast may be necessary.

  • If drinking oral contrast, please arrive one hour and 15 minutes prior to your exam time.
  • If your study does not require contrast, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam.

For your safety, please notify our scheduling department and technologists:

  • If you have severe allergies, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to CT/X-ray dye in the past.
  • If you have any medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or kidney stones.
  • If you have a history of renal failure, liver or kidney transplant.
  • Diabetic patients should discontinue use of Glucophage and Glucovance 48 hours after the procedure.

As with any procedure utilizing X-rays, please notify our scheduling department and technologists if you believe you may be pregnant.

Patient Experience

Upon completion of your paperwork, the technologist or patient coordinator will take you to the CT scan area/dressing booth to change into a gown. The technologist is specially trained and certified by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists to take care of you during your CT scan. The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT table. Your body may be supported by pillows to hold you still and in the proper position during the scan. As the study proceeds, the table will move slowly through the CT scanner. Depending on the area of the body we are imaging, the increments of movement may be so small that they are almost undetectable, or you may feel the sensation of motion. CT scan time is typically 10 to 20 minutes.

Some studies will require IV-injected contrast agents to help us visualize certain tissue or blood vessels. Some patients describe a metallic taste or tingling sensation right after the injection. This is normal and usually subsides very quickly.

After The Exam

Once the exam is completed, the images are analyzed by a board certified radiologist who generates a diagnostic report outlining the findings. This report is then sent to your physician within 24 hours. Your physician will consider the radiologist's interpretation of your scan in the context of your overall care.

Further Information

If you would like additional information on this procedure, we recommend visiting the CT (Computed Tomography) scan section of RadiologyInfo.org.