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CT SCANS (Computed Tomography)

What is CT (or CAT scan)?
A CT (also known as CAT scan or Computed Axial Tomography) is a special X-ray which shows your doctor detailed cross-sectional anatomy including major organs, soft tissue and bone.

Why is a CT necessary?
CT provides many benefits and is effective in the clinical evaluation of organs, soft tissues and bones in order to detect specific infections, cancers, embolism, aneurysms, blockages, abnormal growths, tumors, enlargements, injuries or deformities.

What should I wear?
Wear clothing that is comfortable without metal buttons or zippers if possible (i.e., sweat pants, t-shirt, shorts, etc). It may be necessary for you to change into a patient gown depending on the area to be scanned.

Are there any special preparations or restrictions for my CT exam?
In many cases there is some preparation. Some procedures require you to not eat or drink prior to the exam, and abdominal studies require patients to drink an oral contrast material. If your exam requires an intravenous contrast, please do not eat anything for 3-4 hours prior to the exam. Exams requiring contrast material include scans of the head, soft tissue neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Your doctor’s office will inform you if any special preparation is required prior to your exam. If you have further questions, please call 706-278-XRAY(9729).

Can I have a CT scan during pregnancy?
No. Radiation can be very harmful to an unborn fetus. You should not have any type of X-rays during pregnancy. If there is any possibility that you may be pregnant, please inform your technologist.

May I have a CT scan when I am breastfeeding?
If you have contrast as part of your exam, please suspend nursing for 24 hours after the scan.

What should I expect during my exam?
CT is a painless procedure, although some exams do require an intravenous contrast injection. You will lie on a table that moves through the scanner, which is an open “donut” shaped machine. For some procedures you may be asked to hold your breath for short intervals. Procedures take from 10-30 minutes to complete.

When can I receive my results?
Your results will be faxed to your doctor’s office the same day as your exam. A radiologist is available to tailor the exam and discuss any concerns you may have. Dalton Imaging Center will also provide the films to your doctor’s office upon request. Because Dalton Imaging Center recognizes that tests and other medical procedures can be unsettling at times, we make every effort to completely answer any questions related to testing procedures.

Notice to Diabetic Patients
If you are presently taking Glucophage or Metformin for diabetes and are scheduled for a CT scan with contrast, please call our office two days prior to your appointment.

CT Head
For a CT scan of the head you will be asked to lie very still on the scanner table while images are taken of your head. You will not need to hold your breath for this exam, nor will you be required to put on a hospital gown. If your doctor has requested this procedure with a contrast material, you will receive an injection about half way through the exam; please do not eat for three hours prior to your exam. This exam will take approximately 20 minutes.

CT Sinus
You will be asked to lie on your stomach (or back if you are unable to lie on your stomach) and hold very still for this exam. This exam is very quick and takes only about five minutes to complete. There is no preparation for this exam.

CT Soft Tissue Neck or CT Chest
You will be asked to lie very still on your back and to hold your breath for short intervals during these exams. If your doctor has requested this procedure with a contrast material, you will receive an injection about half way through the exam; please do not eat for three hours prior to your exam. This exam will take approximately 30 minutes.

CT Abdomen and Pelvis
For a CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis, it will be necessary to drink an oral contrast agent 1 hour prior to the exam in order to better image the gastrointestinal system. For this procedure, patients will be asked to change into a gown, lie very still on the exam table and hold your breath for short intervals. If your doctor has requested this procedure with a contrast material, you will receive an injection about half way through the exam. Do not eat or drink after midnight the night prior to the exam. This exam will take approximately 30-45 minutes.


 

 

 

 
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