Computed Tomography, or CT, is a diagnostic imaging modality that produces a series of cross-sectional images of your body. Recent advances in CT technology have made this type of imaging a valuable tool in the detection of many conditions.
The following prep instructions pertain to all patients having a CT scan. Where noted, special instructions are for patients receiving a contrast agent. A contrast agent is a substance that enhances the images taken during the CT scan.
You will meet the CT technologist when you are taken into the exam room. The technologist will explain everything that will happen during the scan. You will be helped onto the table and positioned correctly. If you have difficulty staying very still, there is a strap that can help you remain in place. Even slight movement blurs the CT images.
The CT technologist controls the scanner from an adjacent room where they can still see and hear you. You will be moved slightly after each scan, although you may not notice this.
When the CT scan is complete, the technologist will make sure that all of the information the doctor will need has been collected.
Your time in the CT scan room will vary between 10 and 20 minutes for a single exam, depending on the type of exam. Some patients receive multiple exams during the same appointment.
Once all of the required images have been produced, the technologist will help you off the table. You may leave the CT department immediately and resume your normal diet. Drink plenty of fluids for the next two days unless instructed otherwise. Speak with your doctor if you have difficulty moving your bowels following a CT scan that used oral contrast agent.
Some patients experience an adverse reaction to the contrast agent, but this rarely happens. Contact your doctor if you develop a skin rash, difficulty breathing, nausea, or vomiting. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
The technologist cannot discuss the results of the scan with you. The CT scan will be reviewed by a radiologist and the results will be sent to your doctor, who will discuss them with you.
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