Computed tomography is a method of body imaging in which a thin x-ray beam rotates around the patient. Small detectors measure the amount of x-rays that make it through the patient or particular area of interest. A computer analyzes the data to reconstruct 3- dimensional and cross-sectional images. This enables the physician to identify and locate abnormalities accurately.

If you are pregnant, please discuss with your physician prior to scheduling a CT scan. Please also notify the schedulers when making your appointment, as well as the technician at the imaging center.

  • Preparation
  • If you are pregnant or think you might be, please inform the technologist.

    Allergies: If you are allergic to x-ray dye, IVP dye or iodine, or think you might be, please inform the receptionist upon arrival and the technologist when you meet.

    Non Contrast Studies (any area): If your CT exam is known to be done without the use of IV contrast, there is no prep.

    CT with IV or Oral Contrast Prep: If your CT exam is to be performed with IV contrast, see below in addition to General Prep.

    • Do not eat for 4 hours prior to the exam.
    • Drinking clear liquids only is strongly encouraged the evening before the exam, the morning of the exam and following the exam.
    • CT Abdomen and/or Pelvis Studies may require you to drink a bottle of barium prior to arriving for your scan.
      • If your scan if at noon or earlier, drink the barium at 10 p.m. the night before.
      • If the scan is scheduled after noon, drink barium at 7 a.m. the day of the exam.
      • Two additional contrast drinks may be required upon arrival.
    • Abdomen and Pelvis exams for kidney stones or CTA: DO NOT DRINK BARIUM. Your doctor may order a rare exception for kidney stones but never for a CTA.
    • Medications (when CT scan is with IV contrast):
      • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS): Discontinue 48 hours prior to exam and resume 48 hours after the exam.
      • Glucophage or Metformin: Do not take either medication for 48 hours after your exam.
      • Some medications that contain these drugs may not bear their names. If you are a diabetic and take an oral medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist to identify if your medicine contains any of these.

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Will it hurt?
    • Some discomfort may be experienced if you are required to have an injection.

    • Is this test dangerous?
    • No. The risk of harm from radiation and the contrast(if used) is small when compared to the benefits of the test.

    • When will I know the results?
    • Your physician should receive the results in 2-3 working days.

    • How long will it take?
    • Typically, no more than 30 minutes.

    • What should I wear?
    • Wear comfortable clothes with non-metal snaps or zippers. Sweat suits are preferred.

    • Are there any restrictions after the test?
    • No, you may resume your normal activities, and take your medications as prescribed by your physician. However, if you are a diabetic or on anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), read the “Medications” section for further information.