What to Expect During a CT Scan

CT Scan

A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a type of medical imaging test that combines several different X-ray images to produce cross-sectional images. Your physician may advise you to undergo a CT scan near San Antonio for a variety of reasons. CT scans are helpful for evaluating soft tissues and bones, which means they may be used to diagnose bone tumors, fractures, heart disease, and internal injuries. A CT scan can also be used during a treatment, such as by guiding radiation therapy and surgery. Before your appointment for a CT scan, you may wish to call the imaging center to ask what you should do to prepare for it and what you can expect.

CT Scan

Preparation

Depending on which part of your body needs to be scanned, you may be asked to refrain from eating and drinking for a few hours prior to your appointment. This is particularly important if the technologist will be using contrast material for the CT scan. Let the technologist know if you have any allergies and if you are taking any medications. It’s advisable to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to the medical images center. Since certain objects can interfere with the X-ray images, you may need to remove eyeglasses, dentures, hairpins, jewelry, and similar objects. Some patients may be asked to change into a hospital gown before the exam.

Procedure

CT scanners are large machines that are often described as being shaped like a doughnut. The technologist will position you on a table, which is inserted into the hole in the scanner. The doughnut hole is referred to as the “gantry.” The gantry will slowly rotate around you while you lie comfortably on the table. Every time the gantry completes another rotation, several images are added to the collection in the computer system. A CT scan does not cause any pain or discomfort. However, the technologist, who will be in another room, may ask you via intercom to hold your breath a few times throughout the exam. This produces sharper X-ray images. After the exam, you can expect to return to your usual activities.

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