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What Is a CT (Computed Tomography) Scan?

CT scans (also known as CAT scans) use X-ray pictures taken from multiple different angles around the body to create cross-sectional images that appear as “slices” of the body and organs.

How Should I Prepare?

You will be asked not to eat for 2 hours prior to the procedure.  If your exam requires you to drink barium, please follow the provided instructions.

What Should I Expect?

After you arrive for your appointment, you will be escorted to a procedure room, where you will be asked to change into a patient gown.  You should remove all jewelry and other removable items such as glasses, dentures, and hearing aids. Women should always inform their technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

During the exam you will lie on a table that moves into the doughnut-shaped scanner. Your technologist will watch you through an observation window and will be able to communicate with you at all times. CT scans are non-invasive and painless, though you will hear humming, buzzing, or clicking sounds as the CT machine moves to position you. It is very important to follow all instructions and remain still during scanning in order to obtain clear images.

Some CT exams require the ingestion of an oral contrast agent or injection of an intravenous contrast agent to allow the radiologist to see certain organs and abnormalities more clearly. The CT contrast agent is an iodine-based material that is injected through an intravenous line. Radiology Ltd. uses only non-ionic contrast agents (the safest kind), but with all contrast agents, there is always the potential for allergic reaction. Be sure to tell your technologist if you have experienced a reaction to CT contrast in the past.

After the scan has been completed, you will be able to return to your normal activities and your usual diet unless otherwise instructed. To help eliminate contrast agents from the body, it is best to drink plenty of fluids following the exam.

For your safety and the protection of others, we do not allow anyone other than patients in our exam rooms.

How Do I Get the Results?

After your study, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified radiologists with expertise in CT imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor or healthcare provider, who can then discuss the results with you in detail.

Reports are also available on the MyRAD Patient Portal

Meet Tamela, Tucson business owner

Running your own business doesn’t allow for sick days, but Tamela, a Tucson business owner, was in constant abdominal pain and it was getting worse by the day. Her physician referred her to Radiology Ltd. for a CT scan of her abdomen to search for the cause. The CT scan showed immediately that she had severe diverticulitis. Tamela has since changed her diet and takes special medications and precautions to prevent flare-ups. “When you hurt, don’t suffer,” says Tamela. “Go see your doctor!”