A computerized tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images that are taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images, or slices, of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan image gives more detailed information than plain X-rays do.
A CT scan has many uses, but is particularly well-suited to quickly examine individuals who may have internal injuries from car accidents or any other kind of trauma. A CT scan can be used to visualize almost all parts of the body and is also used to make a diagnosis of a disease or injury as well as to plan medical, surgical or radiation treatment.
Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your CT scan.
You can have a CT scan done in either a hospital or an outpatient facility. CT scan is painless, and with the development of new machines, only take a few minutes to complete. The whole procedure usually last about 30 minutes
During the scan, CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut standing on its side. You lie on a narrow, motorized table that slides you through the opening into a tunnel. Straps and pillows may also be used to help you stay in position.
During a head scan, the table may be fitted with a special cradle that holds your head still. While the table moves you into the scanner, detectors, and the X-ray tube rotate around you. Each rotation yields several images of thin slices of your body. You may hear buzzing, clicking and whirring noises.
A technologist in a separate room is able to see and hear you. You will be able to communicate with the technologist via intercom. The technologist may ask you to hold your breath at certain intervals to avoid blurry images.
After a CT Scan
After the exam, you can return to your normal activities. If you were given a contrast material, you may receive special instructions. In certain cases, you may be asked to wait for a short period of time before leaving to ensure that you feel well after the exam. After the scan, you will likely be told to drink a lot of fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body.