Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a CT Scan?
Computed tomography (CT), also referred to as computerized axial tomography (CAT), is an x-ray technique that uses a special scanner and a computer to create cross-sectional images of the body. Unlike standard x-rays, which take a two dimensional projected picture of the part of the body being examined, the CT has the ability to image that same structure as a series of cross-sectional images. The CT Scan produces clearer, more detailed images of the part of the body being examined than can be accomplished by x-rays and is the preferred cross-sectional imaging test in most cases for examination of the chest, abdomen, pelvis, sinus, ear and some bones.
- Can anyone have a CT Scan?
s a general rule, anyone can have a CT Scan. We prefer not to scan pregnant women, especially in their first trimester. Decisions as to whether it is prudent to scan a pregnant woman will be made in each case based upon the part of the body being examined, the stage of the pregnancy and the medical necessity of the exam.
- What happens during a CT Scan?
You will be asked to lie on a table that slides into a large, circular opening in the doughnut shaped CT scanner. Just prior to the study you will be asked to hold your breath for up to 20 seconds. Cross sectional x-ray pictures are collected as the table moves through the scanner. Detectors in the scanner receive these beams and send signals to a computer. The computer processes these signals and produces a cross-sectional image on a viewing monitor. The electronic digital images are then recorded for the radiologist to interpret.
- What is a CT Scan with contrast?
Certain CT Scans are performed with a contrast agent. Your referring doctor and/or the radiologist will decide if contrast is advisable. You may be required to drink a flavored drink containing a barium contrast material which highlights the hollow digestive organ on the images. For some CT scans, you may need intravenous injection of iodinated contrast to help make blood vessels, organs or abnormalities show up better on the scan. Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center uses only non-ionic iodinated contrast agents which are the safest available. Our staff will give you the specific instructions before your exam.
- How long does a CT exam take?
Most CT Exams without contrast take about 5 minutes. However, A CT scan may range from 5 minutes to one hour, depending on the type of scan performed. You may ask the technologist before the exam what the expected duration of the exam will be.
- How should I prepare for my CT Scan?
Depending on your particular CT scan, you may be given instructions on food and drink consumption the day before and the morning of the exam. Our staff will provide you with those instructions. Feel free to call us if you have any questions.
- What happens after the CT Scan?
Our radiologist will review your CT scan and produce a report. The report will be faxed to your referring physician. Your referring physician will discuss the results with you.
- What information do I need to provide before the exam?
You will be called and asked to answer questions before your exam regarding your medical history, previous surgeries, and previous radiology exams. You will also need to bring in your medical insurance card for us to bill your insurance company. If you have any questions, call Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center at 713-781-6200.