Computed Tomography (CT)
A Computed Tomography (CT) Scan is a type of X-Ray that uses images taken from different angles that are combined via computer to provide an in-depth look into your body. Providers can view your scans by "slice" or in 3D, enabling precise diagnosis and treatment.
CT (Computed Tomography) scans work similar to x-rays: they use radiation to produce multiple images of the inside of the body. The amount of radiation used in a CT scan is greater than that of an x-ray, but still a low enough dose that it has not been shown to cause long-term harm. Your scan will only use enough radiation to get an accurate image of the targeted area of your body.
If you are pregnant, you should tell your doctor or technologist before receiving a CT scan. Radiation from your scan is unlikely to harm your baby in any way, but your doctor may recommend another type of exam – like an MRI or an ultrasound – to avoid exposing your baby to radiation.
It is also possible that your doctor will recommend that you receive a special contrast dye (either by drinking a special liquid or having it injected into you). Reactions are rare, but they can include minor medical problems or allergic reactions. Tell your doctor and technologist if you have ever had a reaction to contrast material
Dress in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing the day of your exam. You may be asked to wear a gown during your procedure. All metal objects should be removed (including jewelry, piercings, glasses, hearing aids, etc.).
You may be asked to not eat and/or drink for a certain amount of time before your scan. You may be asked to take a medication or drink a contrast solution before your scan.
Inform your doctor and technologist of any recent health problems. They will also ask about your medical history including any history of heart disease, respiratory problems, kidney disease, or thyroid problems. Additionally, women should always inform their doctor and the technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.
Upon registration & check-in, you will be asked to fill out a history form asking about your symptoms and medical history. After these forms are completed, you will be met by a CT technologist, who will go over the forms and the procedure with you. The technologist will then take you into the dressing room to change and give you a locker to place any valuables or metal on your body. Once you have changed and removed any metal, you will be taken into the CT scan room. The technologist will position you appropriately on a motorized imaging table before going into the control room.
If a contrast dye is needed, the technologist will walk you through the process of drinking or injecting the dye. An IV may need to be started depending on the contrast dye required.
Once the scan is in progress, the bed will move through a donut-like scanner that will send x-rays into your body, allowing it to take thin “slices” of images throughout the target area. Your technologist may give you instructions through an intercom during the scan as needed.
The CT scan is fast and easy, and most are completed within 30 minutes.
A radiologist will study your images and report the findings to your physician within 48-72 hours. Your physician will discuss the results with you.
Depending on the area of your body that requires a scan, your head may be inside the CT scanner at some point during your scan. CT machines are much thinner than MRIs, and you will not feel as contained as you would during an MRI.
CT scanners are fairly open machines, and the chance for feeling claustrophobic is relatively small. Still, you may consider positive thinking, breathing relaxation techniques, listening to music, etc. If you experience a great deal of anxiety, your doctor may be able to prescribe you with anti-anxiety medication before the scan. Be sure to speak with your physician about these concerns before your physician orders the test.
If you have any further questions about your CT scan, feel free to call our office at 801-387-7200 to talk to a scheduling specialist who can help answer any questions you may have.
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