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Computed Tomography

What is a CT?

A CT scan, also known as CAT scan, is a painless procedure which combines a series of x-ray views to create images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. A CT scan acquires images from the patient’s body that cannot be viewed on a standard x-ray. This helps radiologist more easily detect the patient’s problem and provide diagnosis for a more successful treatment.

What does a CT scan test for?

CT scanning provides for a detailed image of certain parts of the body. Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to help detect information about the brain, such as tumors, bleeding and stroke. A CT scan can also detect internal injuries, bleeding, tumor, infection and blood clot. It can be used to diagnose lung, muscle and bone disorders, as well. A CT scan is the preferred procedure of diagnosing many cancers.

Preparing for your Exam

  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown prior to testing.

  • You may be asked to refrain from eating for a specific period leading up to the scan.

  • Metal objects, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpins, dentures, and belts should be left at home or removed beforehand, as these items may affect the images of the scan.

  • Some patients may be given a contrast material in an oral, rectal, or injection form.

  • Patients should inform their doctor of recent illnesses or medical conditions.

  • Women should inform the doctor if there is any possibility they are pregnant.

  • CT with contrast: Fast for 4-6 hours. You can have necessary medications with a small sip of water. Drink plenty of water the prior day.

  • CT without contrast: No Preparation needed. (e.g. Head, Spine, Kidney stone, and Joints)

  • CT Abdomen Pelvis without Contrast- Fast for 4-6hours. You can have necessary medications with a small sip of water.

During the Exam

CT scans are painless and only take up to 10 minutes for completion. You will be asked to lie on an examination table which will move into the doughnut-like machine. After placing you in the correct position, the technologist will leave to a nearby, separate room, from where he/she will be communicating with you through an intercom. The patient may be asked to hold their breath while the images are being captured to prevent blurring. During the scan, you may hear whirring, clicking, or buzzing noises while the table is slightly moving. Afterwards, you may be asked to wait while the technologist verifies the image quality. If a contrast material has been given, you will receive special instructions, otherwise, you can return to your normal activities.


A radiologist will interpret your results and send them to your primary care, or referring physician.

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