A CT scanner combines computer technology with traditional x-rays so that detailed images can be made of the body’s tissues and vessels, generating data that is interpreted by a radiologist. It provides an important tool in diagnosing and monitoring many diseases and medical conditions. The CT scanner is doughnut-shaped with a hole in the center through which a special bed moves. Multiple cross-section images are made as the x-ray beam rotates 360 degrees around your body.
Carrus’ CT scanner is “open” which means the scan machine is open around you, does not touch you and is not confining. It should not be confused with an MRI scanner that is more of a tunnel-type structure. Even patients who suffer with claustrophobia find CAT scans to be simple, fast and easy.
The scan is a painless, non-invasive way to provide detailed images of your internal organs, highlighting solid structures like calcium deposits or kidney stones. CT scans are commonly used to diagnose appendicitis, bowel obstruction, stroke, sinus problems, and other conditions. They can quickly identify injuries and are important in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. CT scans may also be used in preparation for surgery.
Depending on the type of scan you will have, you should wear comfortable clothing without snaps or zippers. You may be asked to change into a gown, if necessary. Please remove any metal or plastic items. You will lie on the scanning table which will move slowly through the cylinder during the exam. It is important to lie still and you may be instructed to hold your breath while the scans are taken. You may hear a whirring noise from various angles as the images are made. Most scans take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Please arrive half an hour before your scheduled exam. Many types of CT scans require little or no preparation. Your doctor may order blood tests prior to your exam. You may be asked to drink some fluids before your scan. For certain types of scans, you may be given an injection of contrast dye, a solution that highlights certain tissues, organs and blood vessels to provide more detailed information for the radiologist. You will be informed if this type of scan is required and given specific instructions. Some patients may feel a flush of heat and experience a metallic taste during the injection. These sensations usually subside within minutes.
You will want to provide a list of your medications, information on your medical history, dates of previous scans, any pathology reports, your insurance information, and a prescription or referral from your physician.
You shouldn’t experience any discomfort from your exam and may leave as soon as the scan is completed. You may return to normal daily activities unless instructed otherwise. If a contrast dye has been injected, you should drink plenty of water after the scan. If you are on METFORMIN (an anti-diabetic medication) please stop your medication immediately after the CT scan. You can resume the medication 48 hours after the exam. If alternative medication is needed, please contact your physician.
All policies are different so you will want to check with your insurance carrier prior to your exam.
Please inform the technicians if you believe you could be pregnant, are breast feeding, have asthma, are diabetic, or if you have had an allergic reaction to contrast dye or have a history of drug or food allergies (including iodine and shellfish). You will receive about the same amount of radiation as an average person would get from the environment over a three-year period. Although the risks are low and precautions are taken, some patients may have allergic reactions when contract dye is injected, resulting in rashes, itching, eye swelling, and other symptoms.