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Computed Tomography scans (also known as CT or CAT scans) use special X-ray equipment to obtain information from different angles around the body. The computer takes the data and creates a visual image of each slice of information. The radiologist is able to review the slices of information in sequence, which creates a two-dimensional image of the inside of your body. CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissue - lung, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels with great clarity. CT helps the radiologists diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

What Should I Expect?
During the exam you will lie on a table that will move you into the doughnut-shaped scanner. Your technologist will watch you through an observation window and will be able to communicate with you at all times. During the exam, you will hear humming, buzzing, or clicking sounds as the CT machine moves to reposition you for additional images. CT scans are painless, but some exams require injection of a contrast agent. Remaining still is very important in order to obtain clear images.

When scanning is complete, the technologist will return to help you from the table. You may eat normal meals unless other tests are scheduled. To help eliminate contrast agents from the body, it is best to drink plenty of fluids following the exam. Your exam will take about 30 minutes, after which you will be able to return to your normal activities.

How Should I Prepare?
Before some exams, you may be asked to avoid normal eating or drinking for a period of time. You should continue medications prescribed by your doctor unless informed otherwise. Diabetic patients may need to delay their medication until after they have eaten in order to avoid an insulin reaction. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown and may have to remove items such as glasses, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, etc. Women should always inform their technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

Why do some CT procedures require an injection (contrast)?
CT contrast is an organically bound iodine material that is used to make some abnormalities easier to see. We use only non-ionic contrast (the safest kind), but with all contrast agents there is some potential for allergic reaction. Be sure to tell your technologist if you've had a reaction to contrast in the past or if you are particularly sensitive to medications. If you take Glucophage, Glucovance, or any other type of metform in medication to regulate your diabetes, you will need to stop taking it for 48 hours after your exam.

How Do I Get the Results?
After your study is over, a radiologist will review and evaluate your exam. Both a preliminary and final report will be sent to your doctor, who can then discuss the results with you in detail. Often, for more immediate situations, our radiologists will speak directly with your referring physician to discuss the result of the imaging procedure.

At any time before or after your procedure, our radiologists are happy to provide one-on-one consultations with you.

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