A CT Scan is a medical imaging exam that produces cross-sectional images. It is a special type of x-ray that produces high resolution images of the body and can distinguish bone, tissue, fat, gas and fluid. It can often replace other diagnostic techniques such as exploratory surgery and other invasive procedures. This procedure is commonly used to detect or rule out tumors, blood clots, gastrointestinal, enlarged lymph nodes, neurological, back problems, lung cancer and many other disorders.
The purpose of a CT scan is to:
- Provide detailed images for detecting disease.
- Useful in monitoring your progress during or after treatment.
- Determine if a growth is solid or fluid-filled, and if an organ’s size and shape are normal.
A technologist will position you on the examination table. You will then be moved into the doughnut-shaped scanner. As the equipment scans you will hear the whirring sound of the machinery.
Oral sedation is available to patients for this exam. After the exam the radiologist will provide your physician with the results of your CT scan. Your physician can then determine your best treatment options.
Sometimes a liquid called contrast medium is necessary to highlight certain structures. This is given to you either in the form of a drink, through an IV or both. If contrast is needed for your exam, you will be asked to avoid foods and fluids for up to four hours prior to your scan. Be sure to tell your physician if you have any allergies, especially to iodine. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. You may even be asked to change into a gown. Jewelry, hairpins, and eyeglasses must be removed if you are having a scan of your head.
Specific Exam Preparation
- Oral contrast is frequently given.
CT Scan of abdomen:
- Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to your exam, except for the prescribed contrast
- Drink one bottle of contrast two hours prior to your exam.
- When you arrive in the CT department, you will receive an additional cup of contrast to drink
CT Scan of abdomen and pelvis:
- Do not eat or drink four hours prior to your exam.
- Drink one bottle of Readi-cat three hours prior to your exam.
- Drink the second bottle an hour and a half later.
- When you arrive in the CT department, you will receive an additional cup of Readi-cat to drink