A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a type of medical imaging test that combines several different x-rays to produce cross-sectional images. Your physician may advise you to undergo a CT scan 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.
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 our technologist know if you have any allergies and if you are taking any medications. We advise people to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to our imaging center.
Since certain objects can interfere with the X-ray images, you may need to remove eyeglasses, dentures, hairpins, jewelry and similar objects. Some people may be asked to change into a hospital gown before the exam.
CT scanners are large machines that are often described as being shaped like a doughnut. Our 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 our computer system. A CT scan does not cause any pain or discomfort. However, our 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 images.
CT exams are often completed within a matter of minutes. After the exam, you can expect to return to your usual activities.
CT is performed at all Diagnostic Imaging Services locations. Our Metairie and Covington centers offer ultra-low dose CT exams that we believe are simply the lowest-dose scans done in southeast Louisiana. No matter where a scan is done within the DIS network, know that we do everything we can to make a CT as safe as possible. DIS joined the national Image Gently and Image Wisely patient safety campaigns in 2011, pledging to create and implement extensive safety protocols to be used on every patient undergoing a CT.
Have other centers and hospitals in our area done that? If not, they should have… a long, long time ago.