Understanding CT Scans 

Computed tomography (CT) is an X-ray technique that produces more detailed images of your internal organs than a conventional X-ray can. The CT computer displays detailed picture images of organs, bones and other tissues. This procedure is also called CT scanning, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography (CAT).

What is it?

CT is a noninvasive way to view your internal organs and tissues.
CT is used to help:

  • Diagnose muscle and bone disorders, such as osteoporosis
  • Pinpoint the location of a tumor, infection or blood clot
  • Guide procedures such as surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy
  • Detect and monitor certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease
  • Detect internal injuries and internal bleeding

How do I prepare?

If intravenous contrast material is required for your CT scan, you may be instructed to have a blood test before your CT appointment. The blood test is to assure your physician that the appropriate contrast agents may be given for accurate diagnosis.

What to expect

Please plan to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. This will help ensure that your CT scan can be completed on schedule.
For four hours immediately before your scan, take nothing by mouth other than your regular medication(s). Consult your physician if you have questions.
If you are instructed to drink a special solution to prepare for your scan, you will receive the solution and instructions. Please follow the instructions carefully.
You may be asked to change into a hospital gown because snaps and zippers in street clothes can interfere with the scan. Please do not wear jewelry or a watch. They also will interfere with the scan.
Please do not bring valuables such as credit cards.
Please allow one hour for your CT scan. Most scans take from 15 to 45 minutes.7