Multi slice CT Scan
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What is CT?

CT or Computerized Tomography is an advanced diagnostic imaging procedure that produces images of a cross-section of a part of the body. An X-ray tube focuses narrow beams across one layer or slice of the body; its energy is absorbed differently by different body structures. Receptors detect the number of X-rays remaining, and this information is relayed to a computer. The X-ray tube rotates around the body, scanning it. Thousands of readings are taken by the receptors and recorded by the computer. The information is then converted to high-quality images.

CT scans can render diagnostic images of all parts of the body. They are often used to monitor a patient's progress during or after treatment.
In some cases, your doctor may order a CT scan to be done using a contrast medium to facilitate an enhanced image of the area being scanned. The contrast medium may be given by intravenous injection and/or orally.

Patient Experience

You should arrive at the center approximately 15 minutes before your appointment time for the usual screening procedures and paperwork. You may be asked to change into a patient gown as metal zippers or snaps can interfere with the scan. Before your exam, the CT technologist will obtain a brief medical history. Let the technologist or radiologist know if you have any questions.

The technologist will help you onto the examination table. Depending on the equipment used, the technologist may then secure you with a strap. This is painless and will help keep you from moving, since even slight movement blurs the results. The exam table will gently move into the opening of the scanner. You will feel nothing unusual during your exam. You will hear a whirring sound as the scanner operates. The exam table will move slightly after each scan. It is important that you remain relaxed and still during the exam so the images do not blur. The technologist will speak to you through a two-way intercom system. You will be able to talk to the technologist if you need assistance at any time during the exam.

If a contrast medium must be used, it will be given to you intravenously and/or orally. You may experience flushing, nausea, a headache, or a salty taste in the mouth. Let your technologist know immediately if you experience any of these or any other uncomfortable sensations.

Although CT exams are scheduled to minimize waiting time, unexpected delays may occur. Each examination is structured to the individual needs of the patient.

Exam Time

Each procedure lasts approximately 15-30 minutes.

Results

A specially trained radiologist will review and interpret the images and prepare a report of findings to be sent to your referring physician who ordered the exam. Your physician can then explain to you what the findings mean.

Special Preparations

If your CT scan requires contrast, you may not eat or drink 4 hours prior to the exam. Otherwise, you may follow your normal diet and take any scheduled medications. Wear something comfortable with no metal (no zippers, etc.) Avoid make-up, as it may contain metal. Should your physician prescribe a mild sedative, someone will need to accompany you to escort you home. If you have had previous diagnostic studies (MRI scans, Ultrasound, X-ray, Bone scans, or other CT scans) of to the body part being evaluated, please bring those films and reports, or request they be sent to the center. These studies or reports are very helpful to the radiologist interpreting your CT scan.

Tell your doctor or the technologist:
  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • If you have had a Barium Enema or UGI within the last two weeks.
  • If you have had brain, heart, ear, eye or other surgeries especially prior to 1980).

CT Patient Preparations:

The following CT scans require no special preparation before the scan:
  • Cervical Spine
  • Sinus
  • Thoracic Spine
  • Extremities (Legs, Arms)
  • Lumbar Spine
  • Head/Brain

CT OF ABDOMEN AND/OR PELVIS

Abdomen and/or Pelvis Exams are always scheduled with both oral and Intravenous (IV) contrast unless:
  • We are looking for kidney stones - (no contrast is used)
  • Patient is scheduled for CT urogram with IV contrast (NPO for 4 hours prior to CT. Drink 24 oz. of water 1 hour prior to exam - no oral contrast)
  • Patient is scheduled for CT angiogram (no oral contrast prep - IV contrast only)
  • The Patient's referring physician has indicated no oral and/or IV contrast

GENERAL PREPARATION FOR ABDOMEN AND/OR PELVIS EXAMS WITH ORAL AND/OR IV CONTRAST

  • Do not eat for 4 hours prior to your appointment time, and drink only water during the 4 hours prior to your appointment time. However, you are allowed to take your daily medicines with a small amount of water. (Diabetics taking insulin can keep your usual routine, except no dairy products for 4 hours prior to your CT scan)
  • We may need blood tests prior to your exam - please call our imaging center for instructions

Oral Contrast Prep:

Arrive 1.5 hours in advance of appointment your scan time for CT of the pelvis or abdomen and pelvis, and you will be given oral contrast to drink prior to the exam. Alternatively, you may pick up the bottle of contrast to drink in advance at home. Your arrival time will instead be 30 minutes before the scan time.

30 minutes prior to the scan time, you may be given more contrast to drink, and then one more cup just before scanning, depending upon the exam. This will ensure that the contrast will illuminate areas from the floor of the pelvis to the upper abdomen.

If your exam requires it, IV contrast material will be injected into a vein in your arm to better define the blood vessels and organs. This helps us to differentiate between normal and abnormal tissues.

CT OF THE ABDOMEN FOR KIDNEY STONES - (No contrast)

Nothing to eat or drink 4 hours prior to the scan time, except that you may have clear food/drinks such as water, Jell-O or applesauce - daily medications are ok with a small amount of water

CT OF THE CHEST with IV Contrast

IV contrast material is injected into a vein in your arm to better define the blood vessels of your lungs and mediastinum.

Do not eat for 4 hours prior to the CT scan and drink water only during these 4 hours (Daily medications ok with a small amount of water)

CT OF CHEST, ABDOMEN AND PELVIS WITH BOTH ORAL AND IV CONTRAST

see Abdomen and/or CT preparation above. Oral contrast helps us to see your stomach, small intestine and your colon (even if these organs are not the primary reason for your CT exam).

CT OF HEAD with IV Contrast

Head CT scans are performed with IV contrast material. This intravenous contrast material is injected into a vein in your arm to better define the blood vessels.

Do not eat for 4 hours prior to the CT scan and drink water only during these 4 hours (Daily medications ok with a small amount of water)

NECK CT SCAN (SOFT TISSUE) with IV contrast

Neck CT scans are performed with IV contrast material. This intravenous contrast material is injected into a vein in your arm to better define the blood vessels .

Do not eat for 4 hours prior to the CT Scan and drink water only during these 4 hours (Daily medications ok with small amount of water)

A CT scan CANNOT be done at our imaging center on a patient with the following conditions:
  • Pregnancy
  • For IV contrast studies: Previous allergic reaction to iodine contrast
  • For IV contrast studies: History of acute renal failure or uremia
  • For IV contrast studies: Lab results indicating low creatinine levels – poor renal function

For diabetics taking insulin who are having an IV contrast study:
Keep your usual routine except no dairy products for 4 hours prior to your exam

For diabetics taking Glucophage or other oral medication who are having an IV contrast study:
Please call for special instructions about your medication schedule after the IV contrast study.