What is a CT scan?

Computed tomography (CT) combines the use of X-rays with the latest computer technology to take detailed images of any body part. Using a series of X-ray beams, the CT scanner creates cross-sectional images.  

 

A computer then reconstructs the "slices" to produce the actual pictures.  Considering that some slices are as thin as half a centimeter, a CT scan offers much more image detail than a traditional X-ray, which means your doctor obtains detailed images to help make the most accurate diagnosis.

 

What To Expect

Scanning usually takes only a few minutes, although total exam times will vary depending on the specific study being performed.  You may ask your doctor or our staff for exam duration specifics.

 

For most CT exams, you will be asked to wear a gown to prevent your clothing from obstructing the X-rays

 

When the exam begins, the table will move to a starting position, pause and then move to the final scanning position.
 

On the table, a donut-shaped structure, “the gantry” will surround you. This houses the X-ray tube that generates the invisible X-ray beams.
 

The gantry produces little noise. You may only hear mechanical humming, which is the sound of the X-ray tube rotating inside the gantry.

 

During scanning, you'll be required to lie very still and may need to hold your breath as instructed by the technician performing your exam.

 

How To Prepare

Should contrast media be necessary for your CT scan, your doctor will advise fasting for four to six hours prior to your exam.  Some abdominal exams may also require that you fast before the exam to ensure the best possible images.  Be sure to clarify preparations such as these with your doctor in advance.  

 

CT scans, like other X-rays, are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure. 

X-rays themselves are painless. Women who are pregnant, however, should not undergo X-ray procedures,

as there are risks to the fetus.

 

It's important to discuss any allergies, medications and existing conditions with your doctor

before undergoing any type of diagnostic exam.  Please visit the links below for more information

on computed tomography and risks associated with the procedure.