Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed Tomography (CT or “CAT” Scan) scanning is a rapid, painless diagnostic examination that combines x-rays and computers. A CT scan allows the radiologist to see the location, nature, and extent of many different diseases or abnormalities inside your body. CT scanning can be used to obtain information about almost any body organ (such as the liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs, and heart), blood vessels, the abdominal cavity, bones, and the spinal cord.
SeRA uses a Toshiba Aquilion16-slice, helical CT scanner which generates data and detail quickly and accurately.
- Preparation for your CT will depend on the type of exam.
- Notify a member of SeRA’s staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
- Bring prior x-rays or scans with you to your exam, if instructed.
- Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration
During the exam – what to expect
- You will lie on a cushioned table, and once comfortably positioned, the tabletop will move through a gantry (shaped like a big donut), which houses the x-ray tube and a set of detectors.
- In some cases, a special “coil,” a device to hold part of your body, is used to ensure proper alignment.
- Multiple, low-dose x-rays are passed through the body at different angles. Images are acquired by detectors that measure the x-rays that pass through your body.
- The computer processes this information to form an image that the radiologist will review and interpret.
- Some CT studies require a contrast material to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. In this instance, you are given an I.V. in your hand or arm. Once the contrast is injected, you may feel a warm, flushed sensation, and experience a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for about two minutes.
- You will receive special instructions if your exam requires you to consume an oral contrast agent (barium sulphate) in advance.
- Depending on the type of exam, your CT scan can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes
After the exam – what to expect
- A radiologist who specializes in a specific area of the body will review your images (i.e., a body radiologist will review images of your abdomen).
- The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.
- Your doctor will consider this information in context of your overall care, and talk with you about the results