CT SCAN – GENERAL
Computed Tomography (CT) is an advanced system producing cross-sectional images of the body. It's a highly sensitive and accurate method to evaluate the internal anatomy. During the procedure, a patient is asked to their breath, at which point a scan produces multiple contiguous "slices" of an area. These images can lead to earlier detection of abnormalities and can be reliably used for follow-up examinations when necessary.
WHAT TO EXPECT
During the scan, you will be asked to rest motionless on a padded table for 5-15 minutes, depending on the area to be scanned. The table moves slightly every few seconds as the images are obtained. You will also hear faint humming and clicking sounds. After the images are taken, the Radiologist will review the images to ensure that the study is adequate. Additional images may sometimes be needed, which does not necessarily mean there is a problem.
Depending on the part of the body being scanned, different contrast materials may be used. We use a non-ionic iodinated contrast, often administered intravenously through a vein. Contrast is necessary to allow adequate filling of the blood vessels, which helps in the proper interpretation of the study. Although reactions are quite rare, it's not unusual to get a flushed feeling during the exam or a brief metallic taste in the mouth.
If you have an allergy or have had a reaction to the contrast in the past, you should notify the office when you are making your appointment, and also at the time of the scan so that we can take extra precautions to avoid a problem. If you are taking a diabetic medication called Glucophage, please alert us at the time of your exam.
The alternative to intravenous contrast are oral contrasts. Barium sulfate is similar in consistency to a milkshake, whereas Gastrografin is a water-based drink containing iodine and is generally mixed with fruit juice. Patients usually need to drink 32 ounces of either contrast to adequately fill the gastrointestinal tract.
For CT examinations that include the pelvis and abdomen, you will be asked to arrive an hour before the actual scan to drink the contrast. You will be seated in our waiting room during this period.
Screening examinations have become important parts of healthcare, utilized to detect disease before they become clinically problematic. Currently, Screening Chest CT for early detection of lung cancer and Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring for detection of asymptomatic heart disease are simple, noninvasive exams that we perform in our facility.
Abdomen / Pelvis
Nothing to eat or drink 4 hours before the exam (unless emergency).
Pelvic or Obstetrical
Drink 8 oz. of liquid one hour prior to examination.