All you wanted to know about a CT scan
A computerized tomography scan is done to get detailed imaging of a patient’s body, especially when normal X-ray images are not enough. Using computer processing, it is possible to create cross-sectional images of body tissues, bones, and blood vessels, with the help of multiple X-ray images. You can click here for help and info on your doctor’s imaging orders.
When is a CT scan required?
CT scans can be used for various imaging and diagnostic needs. This kind of imaging technique can be useful for finding tumors, unusual masses, diagnosing infections and bone fractures. A CT scan is also useful for understanding internal structures and can identify internal bleeding or injury.
What to expect before, during, and after a CT scan?
- Before the exam. You are expected to wear loose clothing and get rid of anything that contains metal. The imaging & diagnostic center staff may ask you to remove your clothes and wear a gown. You must remove your jewelry and belt. Depending on the type of CT scan ordered, you may have to fast for four hours before the exam. You can contact the imaging center and ask for details.
In many cases, a more detailed CT scan may be required, requiring a contrast material. Some CT scans require oral contrast, for which the patient may be asked to drink enough water or something like Volumen. If an IV contrast is needed, the same will be administered when you arrive for the test.
- During the exam. If you are pregnant, you must inform the technologist before the scan. Your technologist will ask questions related to your health, especially allergies. During the CT scan, you will be lying on a table, which will move under an archway, which is the machine. It is a rotating device capable of capturing multiple thin images, which can help get an overview of the internal structure of the body.
- After the exam. There are no restrictions after a CT scan. You can go back to your normal routine.
The results of the CT scan are typically available after 24 to 48 hours of the procedure. Wait for your doctor to explain the results.
As you may have guessed, a CT scan is a routine exam and doesn’t cause any discomfort or pain. If your doctor has ordered a CT scan for any reason, you know what to expect from the procedure.