What is Computed Tomography?
Computed Tomography scans (also known as CT or CAT scans) use special X-ray equipment to obtain information from different angles around the body. Computers are then used to process the information and create cross-sectional images that appear as “slices” of the body and organs.
What Should I Expect?
During the exam you will lie on a table that will move you into the doughnut-shaped scanner. Your technologist will watch you through an observation window and will be able to communicate with you at all times. You may hear humming, buzzing, or clicking sounds as the CT machine moves to reposition you for additional images. CT scans are painless, but some exams require injection of a contrast agent through an IV that will be started before the exam in either your arm or hand area by a technologist. If you are having an abdomen and/or pelvic exam you may be required to drink contrast fluid 30 mins-1 hour prior to exam time. Remaining still is very important in order to obtain clear images.
How Should I Prepare?
Before some exams, you may be asked to avoid normal eating or drinking for a period of time. You should continue medications prescribed by your doctor unless informed otherwise. Diabetic patients may need to delay their medication until after they have eaten in order to avoid an insulin reaction. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown and may have to remove items such as glasses, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, etc. Women should always inform their technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
What if I Need a Contrast Injection?
CT contrast is an organically bound iodine material that is used to make some abnormalities easier to see and will be delivered through a small IV started in you arm or hand by the technologist. PMIC uses only non-ionic contrast (the safest kind), but with all contrast agents there is some potential for allergic reaction. Be sure to tell your technologist if you’ve had a reaction to contrast in the past or if you are particularly sensitive to medications. If you take Glucophage, Glucovance, or any other type of metformin medication to regulate your diabetes, you will need to stop taking it for 48 hours after your exam.
How Do I Get the Results?
After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified radiologists with expertise in CT imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor, who can then discuss the results with you in detail. Should you have any questions regarding your CT scan, we will be happy to discuss them with you.