What Is A CT Scan?
Computed Tomography commonly referred to as a CT Scan is a noninvasive medical test that combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images of the inside of your body. These cross-sectional images of the area being studied can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed. These images can be manipulated into different positions, allowing the radiologist to thoroughly examine any area of interest. Here at DOI, we have both a 16 slice and an 80 slice Toshiba Aquilion CT scanners, the latter being cardiac capable. These recently upgraded machines allow for reduced X-ray dose, higher resolution images, and more patient comfort as shorter breath holds are required.
The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT examination table, usually lying flat on your back or possibly on your side or on your stomach, depending on the area being studied. If contrast material is used it will be injected through an intravenous line (IV). Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Finally, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is being performed.
What Does A CT Scan Examine?
A CT scan can provide greater clarity and reveals additional details when compared to a regular x-ray exam. A CT scan can be used to study all parts of your body, such as the chest, abdomen, pelvis, or an arm or leg. It can take pictures of body organs, and it can also study blood vessels, bones, spinal cord, and the brain.
Preparation For Exam
A CT scan varies for each exam. Depending on the area to be examined, preparations may vary. Preparation instructions will be provided to you when your appointment is scheduled. Clear liquids are allowed, and all prescribed medications should be taken as usual. If you are or think you might be pregnant, please inform our technologist before your procedure. Comfortable clothing without any metal is recommended, and as always please bring your orders, insurance card, and identification.
For any head CTs please refrain from eating solid foods at least 4 hours prior to your exam. For and abdomen/pelvis CT you may need to arrive up to 2 hours prior to your exam time. No solid foods of liquids 8 hours prior to your exam, only water. For a CT angiography please stay well hydrated the day before the exam, you are required to fast 4 hours prior to your exam.
For a Myelogram please refrain from eating or drinking anything 4 hours prior to your exam.
For a Cardiac CTA:
- No caffeine or energy supplements 24 hours prior to the exam
- No Viagra/Cialis/Levitra or other medications to treat erectile dysfunction 48 hours prior to the exam.
- No food 4 hours prior to the exam
- No water 1 hour prior to the exam
- DO NOT suspend any cardiac medication
- Patients should arrive at 1426 George Dieter 2 hours prior to the exam unless medication picked up the day before the exam. If so, the patient must arrive 1 hour prior to the exam.
Once the technician has determined the exact starting position, most exams are completed in under 60 seconds, unless delayed images with contrast are indicated by your physician.
After your exam, the radiologist will review your images and a report will be sent directly to your physician. Reports are available within 24 to 72 hours.