A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is a non-invasive exam that uses special x-ray equipment to create detailed cross-sectional views of the body. CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity than conventional x-ray exams.
Anyone may undergo a CT scan if your physician feels it is necessary to make a diagnosis or to follow up on a particular type of disease. The information from the CT scan can help your physician evaluate internal organs, bones, soft tissues, blood vessels and the brain.
Preparing For Your Child's CT Scan
You can help your child prepare for their exam. The patient should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. If their clothing has metal on it such as rivets in jeans or metal belt buckles they may be asked to remove them and wear a gown. Metal objects, such as jewelry, may affect the images and should be removed prior to the examination. The child will need to lie very still for approximately five minutes while the study is performed.
Depending on the test, your child may be asked to drink a contrast agent (a special liquid dye). The CT scan may also require an intravenous contrast agent. In this case an IV will be required. Please inform our staff of any medications your child is taking and if he/she has any allergies, especially to contrast materials, iodine, or seafood.
What You And Your Child Can Expect To Experience
When it's time for the CT scan, your child will be taken to a room with a machine that looks like a large donut (the CT scanner). Your child will lie down on a table that will slide through the machine to the section of the body where the images will be taken. It will likely be necessary to secure your child while on the table using a seat belt like strap and/or foam pads to maintain correct body position. Your child will be asked to relax, hold very still, and possibly hold their breath during the scanning. During the examination, parents may be present in the exam room. This is often helpful with children who are anxious about the procedure. If you are pregnant or suspect that you might be pregnant you will not be allowed in the exam room during the actual CT scan. Other children are also not allowed in the exam room during the CT scan.
In the event moderate sedation is necessary to complete your child's exam, one of our radiologists or a pediatric sedation nurse practitioner will administer the sedative or anesthesia and monitor your child until they awaken following the exam.
If contrast is needed and given orally, your child may find the taste mildly unpleasant. They will be given a choice of flavors to choose from. If intravenous contrast is required, your child will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted. A warm sensation during the injection of the contrast materials is common. Some people also experience mild nausea during the contrast injection. Occasionally, a child can develop itching and hives, which can be relieved with medication. If your child becomes light-headed or experiences difficulty breathing, you should notify the technologist or nurse, as it may indicate a more severe allergic reaction.
When the examination is completed, the patient will be asked to wait until the technologist determines that the images are of high enough quality for one of our radiologists to read.
Intermountain Pediatric Imaging is dedicated to minimizing radiation exposure. We use techniques that result in the lowest doses possible for your child. For more information about exposure to radiation please see our CT Radiation Information Sheet
or talk to your doctor.
For more information on Computed Tomography, please select one of the CT Information Pamphlets provided from the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) below: