Computed Tomography, better known as CT scans or CAT scans, has become an important diagnostic tool. In a CT scan the x-ray source rotates around the patient while detectors record how much radiation is passed through the specific area to be imaged. This data is used to form a cross sectional image or a "slice." This data can also be used to form three-dimensional models of the body part.
As a patient, you will be asked to lie on a narrow table as it is moved through the center of the scanner. Depending on the type of exam you are having, you may be asked to lie on your side, back, or stomach. As in all x-rays, it is very important that you lie extremely still. Also, depending on the type of exam, you may be asked to hold your breath to further decrease motion.
Some exams require the administration of intravenous contrast. This contrast is used to highlight the veins and arteries in the region of interest. You may also be asked to drink oral contrast to highlight your stomach, small bowel, and colon.
The preparation for your particular test will be given to you when the exam is scheduled.
CT scans are available 24 hours/7 days a week for emergent studies, routine studies can be scheduled during normal staffed hours.
Please contact the Imaging Services department for scheduling or questions at (319) 481-6369.