A CT SCAN (Computerized Axial Tomography) has been ordered by your Doctor. Most CT SCANS, take approximately 15-30 minutes, depending on what body part(s) we are scanning. Also, most CT SCANS require an injection of intravenous contrast material into a vein in your arm, while the x-rays are being taken.
What is a CT scan?
Computed axial tomography, or CT Scan, is an innovative way of looking at the inside of your body. The images it produces are cross-sectional-patterned much like slices of bread. By taking a series of such images, a CT scan can create a multi-dimensional view of your body. This greatly enhances the radiologist's ability to accurately diagnose medical conditions. The main feature of the CT scanner is a large "ring." As the patient passes to the ring, the x-ray tube rotates around the patient 360° and takes a "picture" or "slice". After many such "slices," the computer has enough information to combine various segments of the pictures and create views of the internal organs of the body. These views are projected onto a television screen, and still photographs are taken to record significant findings.
Will I receive an injection?
To assist in this process, very often a "contrast agent" is used. This agent contains iodine, which x-rays cannot penetrate. By injecting the agent into the body, the radiologist can better visualize organs and structures that might not otherwise be seen.
Why is it performed?
CT scans of the body and head can be used to diagnose a wide variety of medical conditions. Being scheduled for a CT does not necessarily mean that you are suffering from an illness. It simply means that the doctor wants to use the best technology available to find out what is causing your complaints.
- A CT SCAN (Computerized Axial Tomography) has been ordered by your doctor. Most CT SCANS take 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of scan. Most CT SCANS also require an injection of contrast material into a vein of your arm.
- In preparation for the procedure, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 hours prior to the scan. If a scan of your abdomen is ordered, you will be given a packet of EZ Cat. This is to be mixed with 16 oz. of very cold water and well shaken. You will drink the mixture 2 hours prior to the scan.
- The EZ Cat may be obtained at either your doctor’s office or LVDI. If neither of these options is feasible for you, then you must arrive at LVDI 2 hours before your scheduled appointment to drink the mixture.
- If you have ASTHMA (or any history of asthma) or have had a previous reaction to IV contrast, please inform the office staff at the time your study is scheduled. This will allow us to properly prepare you with medication prior to the time of your test. Failure to do so may result in rescheduling the appointment.
- If you are DIABETIC, please inform us if you are taking Metformin, Glucophage,Glucovance Glucotrol, Avandamet,Metaglip or Riomet.You may not take these medications for 48 hours following your test if contrast is given.
- Normal diet and activity may be resumed after your test. The CT SCAN will be read by one of our Radiologists and the report will be sent to your doctor, so that the findings can be reviewed with you at your next appointment. If you have any questions prior to your appointment PLEASE call us at 610-435-1600.
If you have ASTHMA (or any history of asthma) or have had a previous REACTION to IV CONTRAST please inform the office staff when you schedule your appointment, so proper medication can be given to you prior to the test. Failure to do so may result in rescheduling your test.
Also, if you are DIABETIC, please inform us if you are taking GLUCOPHAGE or GLUCOVANCE. You must not take either Glucophage or GLUCOVANCE for 48 hours following the test.
If you are, or think you are, pregnant, you need to inform the technologist before the exam. In this case, your physician will determine if the x-ray is medically necessary for the diagnosis.
What can I expect with a CT?
The health care professional will begin by asking you a series of questions regarding your medical history. Some of these questions may include:
- Are you pregnant? (A pregnant woman and her fetus run certain risks from x-rays not incurred by other patients.)
- Are you a nursing mother?
- Have you ever had a reaction to x-ray contrast material or any other substance containing iodine?
- Do you have any other allergies (hay fever, medications, etc.)?
- Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions (heart disease, diabetes, renal or liver disease, etc.)?
- Are you taking any prescribed or over-the-counter medications?
During the examination
For the exam, you will lie down on the CT SCAN table, which will move you through a circular (donut-like) device. If the exam calls for a contrast injection, the technologist will start the intravenous injection at this time. During the exam, the table will move in and out of the circular device as x-rays are taken. You will need to lie as still as possible during the scan. A technologist can hear and see your throughout the entire exam.
After the examination
After the test you may resume your normal diet and activity. The CT SCAN will be read by one of our radiologists and the report will be sent to your doctor, who will go over the results with you. If you have any questions prior to your scan, PLEASE Contact Us at 610-435-1600.