Computed tomography (CT) is an imaging technique that can show anatomy at different levels within the body. During CT imaging, the x-ray source rotates around the patient, and each rotation produces a cross-sectional “slice”, like the slices in a loaf of bread.
Computed tomography scans are used to diagnosis many conditions. They may be used to examine the head to check for bleeding, tumors, blood clots or signs of stroke. In the other parts of the body, CT may be used to tell whether a growth is solid or fluid-filled, determine an organ’s size and shape, and evaluate many different diseases.
What to expect
When making your CT appointment, our schedulers will give you instructions describing how to prepare for your exam. Before your examination, a CT technologist will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you might have. Examination time can range from 10 minutes to approximately 45 minutes, depending upon the part of the body being examined and whether or not a contrast agent is used.
The CT technologist will position you on the scanning table. You will be secured onto the table with a safety strap. The technologist will guide the scanning table into the CT unit, which is a machine with a large circular hole in the center. The CT technologist will not be in the room during the scan, but will be able to see you and communicate with you through an intercom system.
As the x-ray tube rotates around you, you will hear a whirring sound. The exam table will move slightly to reposition you for each scan, but it moves so slowly that you might not even notice it. You should remain as still as possible during the scan, and for certain sequences you may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds.
When the exam is complete, your CT scans will be given to a radiologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnostic interpretation of medical images. After your images have been reviewed, your personal physician will receive a report of the findings.