Preparing for a CT Scan: Your Questions Answered

What follows is the second in a 3-part series on imaging procedures. The first part focused on mammograms, and the third will help you prepare your child to have an X-ray.

--

Radiologists are doctors who specialize in looking at images of the body. They use advanced imaging technology to give you the most accurate and thorough diagnosis.

What is a CT scan?

A computed tomography (CT) scan is a safe, painless way for your doctor to see inside your body. It uses advanced X-ray technology to take pictures of your bones, organs, blood vessels and other tissues, from your skin’s surface to the areas around your deepest organs.

For some CT scans, you may be given a special dye called a contrast agent to help certain parts of your body show up more clearly on the scan. 

What to expect before, during and after your CT scan

Before your scan

  • When scheduling your CT scan, be sure to tell us if you are or could be pregnant.
  • On the day of your visit, bring your government identification—a driver’s license, passport or other form of ID—as well as your insurance card and a list of your prescriptions.
  • If you have had CT scans at other hospitals or medical offices, please inform our team so that these can be uploaded into our system prior to your appointment. If your previous exam was at a ͼ facility, they should already be uploaded.
  • You may be instructed not to eat, drink or take medications for a few hours before your appointment. It is important to follow these instructions to get the best quality images.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and leave your jewelry at home.

During your scan

  • When you arrive for your appointment, you may be asked to change into a medical gown.
  • During your exam, you’ll lie on a table that slides into a large donut-shaped machine.
  • A technologist will guide you through the process and make sure you’re comfortable. They’ll leave the room but will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times.
  • You may feel a warm feeling in your face or groin area or a strange taste in your mouth if you received contrast dye.
  • The technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds at a time to help you stay still for the pictures.

After your scan

  • After your scan, you can usually leave the facility right away.
  • If you received contrast dye, you may be asked to stay for a short time to make sure you don’t have any allergic reactions.
  • Be sure to drink lots of fluids after your scan to help flush the contrast dye from your system.

If you have any question

ask a member of your care team, and expect your doctor’s office to follow up with your results. These will be made available electronically in your Connect account and sent to your doctor, who will review and discuss them with you.

Our team of radiologists are always available to speak with you.To learn more about screenings and radiology services at ͼ,please visit here.