What To Expect Before, During, And After A CT Scan

Your doctor has ordered a CT scan for you to aid in a diagnosis. If you have never had one before, here is what to expect before, during, and after a CT scan.

Computerized Tomography

A Computerized Tomography (CT) scan combines many X- ray images taken from different angles to create cross sectional images of your bones, blood vessels, and soft tissue. CT scans give your doctor much more information than a simple X-ray.

Doctors use CT scans to examine internal injuries from accidents or other traumas. They can also help to diagnose diseases and plan medical, surgical, or radiation treatments.

Before Your CT Scan

Expect to provide a list of medications, any allergies you may be aware of, and whether you are pregnant. You will also be asked if your kidneys are functioning properly.

You may need to wear a gown or you can have the test performed with your own clothes. You will be instructed to remove anything metal like rings, belts, jewelry, or other devices if possible, as they can interfere with the results.

You should also refrain from eating or drinking a few hours before the test.

During Your CT Scan

Your test will be done quickly and there is no pain. The whole process takes about 30 minutes.

You might be asked to drink a contrast liquid to help differentiate tissues and organs. This can be done by drinking, intravenously, or rectally.

You will then lie on a long table that will slide into a donut shaped tunnel open on both sides. It is important that you stay perfectly still until the scan is complete.

The technologist will be in another room but will be able to see and hear you throughout.

You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan to prevent blurred images.

After The CT Scan

You will be able to leave the facility and return to all your normal activities with no side effects.

Drink lots of water for the next 24 hours to filter out any contrast material left in your body.

Your radiologist at Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center will review the findings and send them to your doctor.

Contact Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center if you have any further questions about an upcoming CT scan or its purpose.

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