CT Scan (General):
What is it?

CT Scan (General):
How is it Used?


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CT Scan (General) Overview

Definition

A CT scan uses x-ray technology to take multiple cross-sectional views of the inside of the body. Compared to regular x-rays , a CT scan can take clearer images of organs, bone, soft tissue, blood vessels, and other areas of the body.

![CT Scan of the Head][2]

[2]: image/119 "CT Scan of the Head" center

Results

The CT images will be sent to a radiologist who will analyze them. Your doctor will receive the results and discuss them with you.

What to Expect

#Prior to Test

  • Before the test, your doctor will likely ask about:
  • Your medical history
  • Medicines you take
  • Allergies
  • Whether you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Leading up to your test, follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any changes in how you take your medicines and any restrictions on your eating and drinking.
  • At the healthcare facility:
  • A healthcare professional will explain the test and answers any questions you may have.
  • You will remove your clothes and put on a gown or robe.
  • You will remove all jewelry, hair clips, dentures, and other objects that could show on the x-rays and make the images hard to read.
  • If your CT scan includes oral contrast material, you will need to drink the contrast material at this time.

#Description of the Test

You will lie (usually on your back) on a movable bed. The bed will slide into the donut-shaped CT scanner. Depending on the type of scan, an IV line may be placed in your hand or arm. A saline solution and contrast material may be injected during the test. The technologist will leave the room. She will give you directions via an intercom. The machine will take a series of pictures of the area of your body that is being studied. Your bed may move slightly between pictures.

#After Test

You will need to wait for the technician to review your images. In some cases, more images will need to be taken.

#How Long Will It Take?

About 10-15 minutes

#Will It Hurt?

You may feel warm and flushed if contrast material is injected into your vein. Otherwise, you should feel no pain.

References

#RESOURCES:

National Library of Medicine
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

Radiological Society of North America
http://www.radiologyinfo.org

#CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Radiologists
http://www.car.ca/

Canadian Radiation Protection Association
http://www.crpa-acrp.ca/

References:

Computed tomography (CT)—body. Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodyct&bhcp=1 . Accessed May 29, 2007.

CT scan: a guide for patients. Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital website. Available at: http://brighamrad.harvard.edu/patients/education/ct/ctguide.html#q2 . Accessed May 29, 2007.

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