CT Scan

What is a CT Scan?

CT is an abbreviation for Computed Tomography, in which a computer and a rotating X-ray device collaborate to create detailed, cross-sectional images of organs and body parts.

How is CT used?

CT scans are useful for evaluating internal organs such as the brain. They are also used to generate 3D images of bones such as the spine, and surrounding muscle. These 3D images assist in treatment and surgical planning.

How is this test performed?

Once you lie down, the bed will slowly move into the CT, which is a square machine with a circular opening. Some CT scan tests require a dye/contrast injection. In these cases, an IV is placed and the dye is injected while the scanner takes pictures.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for this test?

In most cases, there is very little you will need to do to prepare for your CT. You will likely be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewelry or accessories that might interfere with image quality.

When will I receive my results?

Once the test is completed, your physician will review the results. If your appointment is the same day as your test, your physician may review them with you at that time. Otherwise, most test results are reviewed with you at your next scheduled appointment.

What are the risks?

The risks for the CT are the same as with a standard X-ray, which subjects the body to ionizing radiation. Large doses of radiation can cause cell mutations that may lead to cancer. However, the amount of radiation you are exposed to during a CT scan is so small that the risk of any damage to cells in your body is extremely low. Please notify the technician if you are pregnant. In order to minimize fetal exposure to radiation, your doctor may recommend a different imaging study.

Will it be painful?

CT is a painless and non-invasive diagnostic test. You may experience minor discomfort if you have a sensitive injury.