Computed Tomography (CT) uses X-rays to create images of organs or structures inside the body. The images are used to check for tumors, blood flow or other problems. Scans can be done on the chest, abdomen, pelvis, upper and lower extremities, liver, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, lungs, heart, spine and spinal cord.
What to expect
During the scan, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large, doughnut-shaped machine. Once the test is complete, all of the pictures are saved to the computer and sent to the radiologist for interpretation.
Some CT scans require an iodine dye to make the structures/organs easier to see. The dye may be given as a drink or through a vein in the arm or other area of body.
Preparing for your exam
Preparations for your CT will vary depending on your specific procedure and will be discussed during the scheduling process. Below are recommendations for all CT procedures.
Avoid wearing jewelry or clothing that has metal on it if it will be in the area of your scan.
Drink plenty of fluids the day before your exam unless you have been instructed otherwise by your health care provider.
If your health care provider ordered an intravenous (IV) contrast (dye that is injected through the vein), you may need lab work in preparation for this exam. Talk to your health care provider with any questions.
Any post-exam instructions will be given to you before you leave.