Having a CT scan can assist your doctor in helping make a diagnosis so he/she can adequately treat your problem. A CT or CAT scan is a medical imaging device that combines the use of x-rays with computers to produce clear and extremely detailed 3-dimensional pictures of the body's internal structures.
If you know of any allergies you might have to x-ray dye or Iodine, or if you are a woman of child bearing age and there is a possibility that you may be pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor and alert the Imaging Center staff of any issues at the time your exam is scheduled.
Preparing for Your Exam
Do not eat or drink at least FOUR HOURS prior to your scheduled appointment time.
When having a CT scan as an outpatient procedure, here are some things you should expect:
- You may be asked to change from your regular clothes into a gown that has no metal zippers or snaps. A locker will be provided to you for your street clothes.
- If you are having a CT scan of your abdomen and/or pelvis, you will be asked to drink three cups of oral contrast approximately one and one-half hours prior to the CT examination. The oral contrast is usually a thin mixture of barium that allows the radiologist to visualize and separate your small and large bowel from other internal organs. You may pick up contrast at any of our Centers prior to your appointment or figure the time into your arrival time.
- You will also have an injection of intravenous contrast during the CT examination. This is typically known as x-ray dye. The x-ray dye allows the radiologist to more clearly visualize the vascular structures within the body. Since x-ray dye does contain Iodine, we will need to know if you have any allergies to Iodine prior to the procedure.
- You may take your prescription medicines (except for Glucophage) on schedule before or after your CT scan as directed by your physician. If you take Glucophage for diabetes, you may be asked to stop your medication for 48 hours following the examination.
- You will lie on a table that slides into a large circular opening. The table will then move through the opening as a succession of x-ray beams are passed through the body from different directions.
- The actual examination time, depending on the procedure, can vary from a few minutes to about an hour. However, the actual x-ray exposure time is minimal.