A computerized tomography scan (CT or scan) or computer axial tomography (CAT scan) is a diagnostic imaging procedure using a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
Preparing for your CT scan
- Nothing to eat two hours prior to the CT scan. You may drink up until the test.
- If you are taking medications containing metformin for you diabetes, please notify your physician. You will need to be off of this medication the day of the exam and for 48 hours after the exam
- If you are over 60 or have kidney disease, diabetes, lupus, or multiple myeloma, you'll need a blood test beforehand to make sure the contrast will be safe for you.
What to Expect
- You may have an intravenous tube (IV) placed in your vein to receive the contrast medium or dye.
- To make the test more useful and reliable, it is sometimes necessary to put a medicine or chemical into your blood. This chemical is called a contrast medium or dye.
- You will lie on a special table, which slides in and out of a scanning machine.
- The table slides in and out of the scanner's round opening. The table is firm and flat. If you have pain or shortness of breath while lying flat or you don't think you can stay flat for 15-20 minutes, please notify your physician.
- While the scan is running, the scanner rotates around your body and takes hundreds of pictures that are used to make a 360 degree picture.
- The machine will make a grinding or clicking noise as the scanner is rotating.
- If you are claustrophobic please notify your physician for possible medication to help you through the exam.
- The technologist performing your exam will be nearby and able to talk to you throughout the scan.
After your CT
- You may resume your normal activity.
- If you are taking medication containing metformin for your diabetes, please notify your physician. You will need to be off this medication the day of your exam and for 48 hours after the exam.