CT or CAT Scan – Computed Tomography

What Is Computed Tomography?

Computed Tomography, also referred to as a CT or CAT scan, is an advanced radiological imaging modality in which an x-ray beam rotates around the patient. A CT scan can image the internal portion of the organs and separate overlapping structures precisely, producing cross-sectional images of all parts of the body.

What Preparation Do I Need For My CT Scan?

You may be asked to not eat or drink for several hours before your CT or CAT scan. Contrast material may be given by mouth, sometimes beginning the night before. A history of contrast (e.g. iodine) allergy should be reported to our staff prior to the CT or CAT scan.

What Is A CT Scan Like?

You will be asked to lie on a table that slides into a hollow ring in the center of the CT scanning machine. X-rays pass through the area of interest in your body and are detected by an array of electronic sensors. You will feel absolutely no pain. Information from these sensors is then computer-processed and displayed as an image on a video screen. Film copies of these images may be made for later study.

A contrast material, sometimes called “dye,” may be administered to outline blood vessels or enhance organ images. If a contrast material is used, it will be injected into a vein, usually in your arm. Some or all of the solution may be injected by a syringe, or all of it may run slowly into your vein from an intravenous (IV) bottle.

You will be given breathing instructions, and then the table will move slowly through the CT or CAT scanner. The entire scan will be completed within minutes.

Who Performs A CT or CAT Scan?

A radiologist, certified by the American Board of Radiology, oversees the CT scan. The radiologist will be assisted by a radiology technician and possibly a radiology nurse.

Why Is A CT or CAT Scan Performed?

A CT or CAT scan is a very helpful diagnostic tool that helps diagnose several different conditions or disorders. It can be used to find abnormalities within your body or assist during surgery.

Some of the main reasons a CT or CAT scan is used are:

  • Detect internal bleeding or internal injuries
  • Assist surgeries, radiation therapy and biopsies
  • Locate bone and muscle disorders like bone fractures and tumors
  • Locate an infection, tumor or blood clot
  • Monitor disease and conditions including heart disease, cancer, lung nodules and liver masses