CT Scan

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CT Scan Technology

If you have been given an appointment for a computed tomography (CT) scan at Advanced Radiology of Jefferson City you may have many questions. “What can I expect before, during and after a CT scan?” First and foremost, a CT scan is fast, straightforward and painless.

Preparation Instructions

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What is CT?What can CT evaluate?What happens during a regular CT exam?Why is a contrast medium used?How is the CT image or CT scan performed?How long does a CT scan take?How should I prepare for the Exam?ImportantWhat happens after the examination?
What is CT?
CT is a radiological modality which has been used since 1974 to visualize certain regions of your body slice by slice. Think of your body as a loaf of bread and the CT machine takes pictures in slices and then spreads them out allowing a radiologist to look at the details of your organs and boney structures in great detail.
What can CT evaluate?
– Detecting strokes, head injuries, herniated discs, abscesses
– Locating fractures
– Diagnosing changes in various organs
– Early diagnosing of lung and abdominal cancer
What happens during a regular CT exam?
During the examination you will be lying on a comfortable table (usually on your back). This table will slowly move you through the opening of the CT Scanner called the gantry. (It looks like a big donut.) All you need to do is pay attention to the instructions of the CT personnel who may ask you to briefly hold your breath or not to move certain regions of your body.

You will not feel the acquisition of CT images at all: you will only hear a low whirring noise. The patient table will move slightly during the entire examination.

Why is a contrast medium used?
Certain types of CT scans require the use of a safe contrast agent to improve the diagnostic detail of the study. Contrast ageents are adminsistered orally and/or by inversion, through an intravenous (IV) line. Most people tolerate the IV contrast without any problems and merely feel flushed or a warmth move through their body.

Since the contrast medium may cause an alleregic reaction in some people, you will complete a questionnaire upon arrival at the center. You will be ask if you have ver had Asthma, HTN, CHF, if you are pregnant or breast feeeding, if you have ever had a reaction to shellfish. You will also be asked if you have ever had a reaction to contrast before or a delayed reaction. If you are over 60 or diabetic you will neeed BUN and Creatinin levels, wich evaluates kidney function. We can test for these values very quickly at the center. Should you feel any discomfort during the exam you should communicate that to the technologist as they can communicate with you throughout the exam.

How is the CT image or CT scan performed?
While you are in the gantry, the CT scanner is taking extremely detailed cross-sectional images of your body. Data is acquired; the computer generates the final images. These are the images the radiologists at Advanced Radiology review visualizing and then diagnosing thee presence or absence of disease.
How long does a CT scan take?
The duration of a CT examination depends on which body regions are scanned. A CT scan can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depnding on the nature of the study and other factors.
How should I prepare for the Exam?
The schedulers at Advanced Radiology of Jefferson City will provide you with guidance. Depending on the type of CT ordered you may have very little preparation. If the CT is scheduled with contrast you may be asked to drink an oral contrast agent. If you need to drink contrast you may be asked to begin drinking the contrast the night before your exam. You will be asked to drink plenty of water the day of your exam to flush the contrast through your system. You will be asked to be NPO-No solid foods 8 to 10 hours before your exam. You may have a small amount of clear liquids up to an hour before your appointment time.

You can read more about how to prepare by downloading this document.

Important
If you are diabetic and are taking glucophage (Metformin) or Glucosat please inform the technologists at the time of your test.

To be sure optimal results are obained: follow the instructions of your physician, the schedulers at Advanaced Radiology and the technologists. Take contrast as instructed. Wear comfortable clothes. If you are a female you may want to remove your bra and wear a comfortable sweat shirt. We can always have you change into a gown if necessary. Sometimes the wire in a bra can interfere with obtaining quality images.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Like other X-ray exams, CT scans should not be performed during pregnancy because of the exposure to radiation.

What happens after the examination?
The radiologist will review your images in detail and dictate a highly specialized report of his findings. The report is sent to your referring physician the day of your exam.