Often times referred to as CT or CAT scan, Computed Axial Tomography is an effective tool that can see into areas of the body that cannot be seen on a regular x-ray examinations. Normal x-ray films are two- dimensional; however, a CT scanner shows structures in many different three-dimensional (3D) planes. The most common CT procedures involve the brain, chest, abdomen, pelvis and spine.

What can I expect during the exam?

The scanner is essentially a large circular machine with a table extending from the opening in the center. A highly trained CT technologist will assist you in getting situated and comfortable on the table, explain the procedure, and answer questions you may have. The technologist will monitor the exam from the adjacent control room, and you will be able to communicate with them using a two-way intercom.

You may be given an intravenous injection to increase the contrast between different tissues. This is accomplished via a small catheter inserted into a vein. The catheter is removed immediately after the test is complete.

As the exam begins, the table will gently slide into the scanner’s opening. Throughout the exam, you may hear the scanner rotating and feel the table move slightly to allow the scanner to capture the appropriate images. The technologist may ask you to hold your breath at certain points during examinations of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. This helps minimize any blurring of images caused by breathing or other motion.

Will I be exposed to radiation?

While computed tomography is considered a safe examination, you will be exposed to a low dose of radiation. The CT equipment also has dose-limiting features to help reduce the amount of radiation received during the test. In the vast majority of cases, the diagnostic benefit of a CT scan greatly outweighs the risk of radiation.

How long will the exam take?

Depending on how many images are to be generated, a CT exam generally takes 30-45 minutes, although a very detailed study may take longer.

How do I prepare for the exam?

On the day of your appointment, we recommend you avoid eating solid foods or drinking any liquids for eight (8) hours prior to your exam. In some cases, you will also be asked to ingest a liquid that will enhance the images captured by the CT scanner. Should your exam require special preparations, your physician will provide you additional information. In order to obtain the highest quality images, you will be asked to remove any items that could obstruct the scan, such as jewelry. Most scans will require you to change into a hospital gown.

How will I know the results?

Following your exam, a radiologist specializing in CT will analyze and interpret the images from your exam and prepare a full report. This report will be sent directly to your physician, who will share the results with you. To request a copy of the report, you may contact your physician’s office, or Medical Arts Hospital’s Medical Records Department at 806-872-2183.

How do I schedule an appointment?

When your physician order a CT for you, the physician’s office will either contact the scheduling center or have you make the arrangements. If your physician asks you to make the arrangements, please contact us at 806-872-2183. Please have your order available when you call, as we will need to know the type of CT and the diagnosis your physician has indicated for the procedure.

What do I need to bring with me the day of the exam?

You will need to bring the order your physician gave you, a form of personal identification, and any insurance or Medicare information.