CT Scans (also called CAT Scans) use radiation, electronic detectors and computers to produce images of the structures inside the body. CT Scanning provides cross-sectional views of the body that can make diagnosis and treatments more accurate. During a CT exam the patient lies on a narrow "bed" which moves the patient through an x-ray beam that is rotating 360 degrees around the patient. Actual scanning time varies from as little as 15 seconds, up to 60 seconds.
Computed Tomography FAQ
Are you accredited in CT Scanning?
Yes. Pueblo Radiology has sought accreditation by an outside third party since offering CT services. The accreditation evaluates our image quality, scan protocols, and personnel to assure that the services are performed properly, by qualified personnel, on properly maintained equipment. This accreditation process is done every two years.
What about the radiation dose?
All CT scanners expose the patient to radiation during the course of their examination. In 2009, Pueblo Radiology revised all of our body imaging protocols to minimize radiation exposure whenever possible. In addition to using breast shield for female patients when applicable and limiting our range of scanning whenever possible, Pueblo Radiology’s scanners are evaluated annually by an independent medical physicist for proper exposure values, and our units have preventative maintenance performed on a regular basis.
I'm scheduled for a CT Scan, is there anything special I need to know prior to the test?
Different CT exams require specific preps. Please go to the CT prep area of this site for preps specific to your CT test.
Why do I have to drink something before my abdomen (or pelvis) CT Scan?
Oral contrast is given prior to abdomen and pelvis imaging so that the radiologist can better identify your GI tract (bowel, intestines, stomach) and distinguish it from all the other organs, blood vessels, and structures in your abdomen and/or pelvis.
What happens during my CT Scan?
You will lie on a table connected to the scanner. The table will move through a large hole in the scanner. The scanner will not touch you and you will not feel the x-rays. A technologist will assist you on and off the table and will watch and communicate with you during the time you are being scanned (15-90 seconds) Some CT exams also require an injection of intravenous (IV) contrast. Commonly these exams are of the abdomen, pelvis, or chest, but can also be the head or extremities. Should your exams require IV contrast, the injection is done through a vein in your arm after a technologist inserts a small needle. The injection is coordinated with the scanning of your body.
Is this safe?
Millions of CT exams are done yearly in the U.S. and throughout the world. The oral and IV contrast materials contain barium and iodine respectively and are generally safe. However, like all other medications, side effects can occur. Some patients have allergic reactions to the contrast agents, which can range from minor (hives, itching) to severe. If you have had prior allergic reactions associated with x-ray tests, or if you have asthma or multiple allergies, you may be more likely to have a reaction. Please notify our office when scheduling if you have any of the previous situations that might put you at higher risk of allergic reaction.
How long does CT scanning take?
You should allow about 30-45 minutes for your appointment.
What should I wear?
For all exams except those of the head/sinuses, you will be given a gown to put on. Wear clothes in these situations that are easily removed and comfortable.
I have had CT Scans before, is that important?
Yes, we would like to have your previous CT Scan for comparison purposes if it was of the same body part. Notify us where your previous CT Scans are at the time of scheduling your appointment.
How do I get the results of my CT Scan?
Your M.D. will usually get the results of your scan within 24 hours following your test. You should contact your M.D. so that they can discuss your results with you and answer any of your questions. If you are returning to your M.D. immediately following your CT Scan, please inform your CT technologist. If you want a copy of your CT images or report, please notify your technologist at the time of your scan.
What happens after my CT exam?
You should be able to return to your normal activities. The contrast materials (oral or IV) will pass normally from your body.
What if I am claustrophobic?
Because our scanner has a large opening and is more like passing through a hole in a large donut, most claustrophobic patients need no special preparations. If you are extremely claustrophobic, inform your M.D. and notify our office prior to your appointment and we will do our best to assist you.
Should I care that your scanner acquires fewer slices per rotation compared to others?
Much has been written in advertising about slice count to influence patients and their physicians. It is generally agreed that 16 slice CT scanners can perform all routine scanning duties very well. If CT cardiac angiography or certain body perfusion studies are required, 128 slice CT scanners (or greater) are the state-of-the-art. All other CT imaging, including cardiac calcium scoring, is done perfectly well on a 16 slice scanner, and many times at lower dose.