CT scan (computerized tomography)
CT scan is usually done to diagnose an infection, identify masses and tumors, and helps study blood vessels. It also guides a surgeon to the right area during a biopsy.
During this test, the patient lies in a doughnut-shaped machine that takes pictures of the body. The scanner is used in combination with a digital computer to create "slices" of different organs of the body, making it possible to detect diseases sooner than with a regular X-ray.
To prepare for a CT scan:
Wear loose, comfortable clothing free of metal snaps and zippers, if possible. When you arrive, you will be asked to remove metallic jewelry, watches, hair pins, hearing aids, removable dental work and glasses if they are in the area being scanned.
If you are having a CT scan of the abdominal area, you may need to drink a liquid contrast. This will be given to you, with instruction, in advance. You may be asked to not eat or drink anything for four hours before your scan. Your health care provider will instruct you which medications, if any, cannot be taken.
The scan typically takes 30 minutes or less. You will be asked to hold very still in specific positions as instructed by a technologist. You may be asked to hold your breath during some scans to reduce blurring on the images. If your scan requires the use of a contrast, you may be given another contrast material during the scan by IV injection. This may make you feel warm inside, but the sensation only lasts a few moments and is not painful. After the scan, you will be asked to drink plenty of fluids.
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