What is a CT scan?
A CT Scan is short for Computerized Tomography Scan. The scanner is shaped like a donut with the body placed in the central hole. The x-ray source rotates in a circle around the patient, sending x-rays through the patients which are recorded by detectors opposite the x-ray source. The detectors send the information into a computer. The computer processes this information into finely detailed images. Many images or “slices” make up the complete exam.
What is the CT scanning procedure?
When you enter the examination room, you will be asked to lie on the CT table. The technologist will assist you, positioning you correctly. The table will then be moved so that the body part being examined lies in the middle of the scanner ring. You will be able to see out both ends of the scanner. The technologist will be able to see you at all times and will communicate with you via a two-way microphone.
What is contrast material and will I require it?
Depending on the area of your body that is being examined, a contrast material may be used to provide sharper images. The contrast material may be given orally and/or by injection. During the injection, you may have a warm, flushed feeling, and have a metallic taste in your mouth. This is a normal bodily response and passes quickly. In very rare instances, the intravenous contrast material may cause allergic symptoms. Please notify your physician immediately if an allergic reaction occurs.
What is Spiral CT and Multi-Slice CT?
Spiral CT allows for continuous scanning of the body without interruption, allowing for faster and higher quality imaging. The multi-slice CT is the newest form of spiral CT that acquires multiple channels of data from the multiple rows of detectors for each revolution of the x-ray source. Computer generated images in any special plane are easily produced, insuring maximum diagnostic information.
What is CT Angiography or Cardiac CTA?
CT Angiography (CTA) is a form of rapid vascular imaging to render high definition images of blood vessels throughout the body. We are able to non-invasively assess the coronary arteries in five seconds, obtaining more information than a cardiac catheterization. A 4D display of the beating heart on the computer screen allows detailed assessment of many aspects of the heart. This is done using an arm vein injection. Any artery in the body can be imaged down to 2 mm in size in less than 30 seconds.
What should I do to prepare?
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Also, to do the best possible exam for you, we need to know if you are diabetic, have a history of renal disease, or have allergies to any foods, medications, or contrast medium. Wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal. You may be asked to remove hearing aids, glasses, or dentures for the exam. Please leave valuables, such as jewelry, at home. Unless instructed not to do so, take your normally prescribed medication the day of the scan.
How long will the procedure take?
The exam will take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. This allows for preparation as well as time for the computer to generate the images. It is important to remain as motionless as possible during the scan. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds. You will intermittently hear the mechanical sounds of the scanner.
When will I have the results?
Upon completion of the exam, the radiologist will evaluate all of your images and generate a report to your physician. Your physician will then be able to discuss the results in detail with you.