Also called CT, CT scan and CAT scan is an X-ray technique that produces more detailed images of your internal organs than do conventional X-ray exams. X-rays are a form of energy radiation.
Conventional X-ray exams produce two-dimensional images. But CT uses an X-ray-sensing unit, which rotates around your body, and a large computer to create cross-sectional images (like slices in a loaf of bread) of the inside of your body. A CT scan reveals bones and organs as well as your pancreas, adrenal glands, ureters and blood vessels, all with a higher degree of precision than an X-ray. CT is a noninvasive way to view your internal organs and tissues.
The test itself is completely painless. You will be asked to lie quietly on the CT scanner's "patient couch" during the study. Depending on the type of study being done, you may be injected with an I.V. contrast material during the exam. This may make you feel warm during the injection. This is a normal feeling.
Because contrast agents contain iodine, which causes an allergic reaction in some individuals, be sure to tell the technologist, nurse or radiologist if you have had an allergic reaction to these agents before, or if you have any other allergies. We use nonionic contrast exclusively which is less risk to the patients.
You will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs for most procedures. You may be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any removable dental work that could obscure the images. You also may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything for 3 hours before the exam.
Depending on the exam ordered by your doctor, you may be required to pick up Oral contrast material ahead of time. You will be given detailed instructions at that time on how to take the oral contrast. Women should always inform their doctor or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
The length of your exam depends on what type of test your doctor has ordered for you. Most procedures take no longer than 20-30 minutes.
Most patients are able to return to normal activities immediately following the scan. If you receive the I.V. contrast material, you should drink plenty of fluids the next few days. If you are diabetic and taking a form of Metformin, you will be given specific instructions on how to take your medication before and after the CT scan.
At FCDI, we have a radiologist on site during the daytime hours, so the test will be interpreted promptly. The results will be sent to your referring doctor within hours of your exam. You may obtain your results from your doctor.