Computerized Tomography (CT)

The CT scanner uses X-rays to create images that represent slices through the body. These are called cross sectional images. CT scans are used to diagnose or follow infection, inflammation, tumors, cysts, bleeding, back problems, and many other disorders and abnormalities. The cross sectional images produced may demonstrate conditions that do not show up on conventional X-rays. The results may help determine your diagnosis and/or the best course of treatment.

What preparation is needed?

  • Please bring a list of your current medications when you come for your appointment.
  • Report to the Imaging Department on the First Floor 15 minutes before your appointment time.
  • Your physician should give you complete instructions prior to the examination. The preparation will vary depending upon the area being imaged and whether the exam is to include administration of X-ray contrast material.
  • The preparation may include the use of oral contrast which requires drinking the oral contrast and waiting until it has moved through the bowel system. This oral contrast helps to identify the stomach and intestines. You may pick up the contrast from the Imaging Department before your exam. For some exams, you may not be able to have anything by mouth before the scan, but you may take your routine medicine.
  • In many cases, X-ray contrast material will be given through an IV catheter. The X-ray contrast material contains iodine and helps to highlight blood vessels, organs such as the liver or kidneys, as well as tumors and other abnormalities. If IV contrast is to be used, prior blood tests may be needed. The technologist will ask you about your medical history and allergies prior to using contrast. Please inform us if you may be pregnant.
  • You may also be asked to change clothing and remove jewelry before the examination.

Who performs the examination?

The CT scan will be performed by a registered radiology technologist.

What will happen before and during the examination?

  • Please allow 30 minutes for this exam.
  • During the scan, you will lie on a table and the part of your body to be scanned will be positioned in the middle of a large doughnut-shaped scanner. The X-ray equipment that makes the image is in the large doughnut. You and the table will slide slowly through the doughnut-shaped scanner during the exam. The technologist will be in a control room near you during the exam, and will be able to talk with you during the exam. The technologist may instruct you to hold your breath for some exams.
  • If IV contrast is to be injected, you may feel a sensation of warmth near the IV line or in other parts of your body. The technologist will monitor the IV during the injection. If you experience any discomfort during or after the injection, be sure to notify the technologist.

What to expect after your examination

  • It is recommended to drink extra fluids as to help pass the IV contrast from your system.
  • After the test, some patients may experience loose stools from the oral contrast.

What about the results?

Once the study is completed, the images will be studied and interpreted by a Radiologist. A report will be available for your physician. If you have any questions, please call the CT Department at 217-245-9541, ext. 3111.