Computed Tomography Scan (CT)

What is a CT Scan?

CT (Computed Tomography), sometimes called CAT scan, uses special x-ray equipment to obtain image data from different angles around the body. Computer processing of the information is then used to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs. Several types of tissues can be shown, such as lungs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels. With the help of specialized equipment and expertise to interpret CT scans, the radiologist can diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma, and musculoskelletal disorders.


Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes on the day of your exam. Avoid wearing any metal objects such as jewelry, hairpins, earrings, or other similar items.

Approximately 30 minutes to one hour should be allowed for the examination. You may be at The Radiology Clinic longer than that due to check-in and interview with the technologist.

If you have children, please make arrangements for childcare, as there are no childcare facilities on site. Children are not allowed in the examination room.

What to Expect

The CT examination requires the use of different Contrast materials to enhance the visibility of certain blood vessels or tissues. The contrast material may be injected through an IV directly into the blood stream, swallowed, or administered by an enema, depending on the type of examination. Before administering the contrast material, the technologist will ask you if you have any allergies (especially to medications or iodine) and whether you have a history of diabetes, asthma, heart condition, kidney problems, or thyroid conditions. Pretreatment with Benadryl and Medrol usually eliminates reaction in potentially allergic patients. An allergic reaction results in hives, itching, wheezing, or shock. Please tell the technologist if any of these symptoms occur.

The CT machine resembles a large standing donut, called the gantry, with a table positioned through its center. The gantry houses the rotating x-ray tube and detectors. You will be instructed to lie as still as possible on the examination table. During the exam you will be asked to take remove your glasses, hearing aids or any removable dental work.

The patient is moved slowly into the gantry. You will see the CT rotating around you and hear the CT machine make a whirring sound, while the tube moves around your body. There is no discomfort associated with the CT scan itself.

The technologist will not be in the examination room with you, but he or she will be able to see, hear, and speak to you at all times using an intercom. 

Follow Up

If you receive a contrast agent, you may experience nausea, headache, or dizziness after the procedure. It is very important to increase the amount of water you drink for several days after the exam. Please notify your personal physician or The Radiology Clinic if symptoms persist.

Your referring physician will be provided results 2 - 3 working days after the procedure.


If you are pregnant or feel you may be pregnant, please notify the technologist prior to your exam.

The CT program at The Radiology Clinic is accredited by the American College of Radiology.