Computed tomography (CT or Cat scan) utilizes fast X-rays to capture dozens of “slices” through your body in a rapid sequence. A computer then generates a 3-D image for review by the radiologist. Saint Luke’s multi-slice CT scanners allow for shorter exam times and less radiation exposure.

What is a CT scan?

Computed Tomography (CT)

Technician preparing woman for CT scan.Computed tomography (CT) is a test that combines X-rays and computer scans. The result is a detailed picture that can show problems with soft tissues, such as the lining of your sinuses, organs, such as your kidneys or lungs, blood vessels, and bones.

Tell the technologist 

Be sure to tell the technologist if you:

  • Have allergies or kidney problems

  • Take diabetes medicine

  • Are pregnant or think you may be

  • Ate or drank anything before the test

Before your test

  • Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a reaction to contrast material ("X-ray dye"). If you have had a reaction, you may need to take medicine before your scan, so be sure to tell your provider ahead of time. 

  • Be sure to mention the medicines you take. Ask if it's OK to take them before the test. 

  • Follow any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before the procedure. Your provider will give you instructions if required. You may be required to drink contrast by mouth before arriving for the study depending on the type of exam you are having. Your provider or the imaging site will provide this for you.

  • The length of the procedure may vary, depending on your condition and your provider's practices.

  • Arrive on time to check in.

  • When you arrive, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. Remove all metal near the part of your body that will be scanned, including jewelry, eyeglasses, and dentures. Women may need to remove any bra that has metal underwire. 

During your test

  • You may be given contrast through an intravenous (IV) line or by mouth.

  • You will lie on a table. The table slides into the CT scanner.

  • The technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds during your scan.

After your test

  • You can go back to your normal diet and activities right away. Any contrast will pass naturally through your body within a day.

  • Before leaving, you may need to wait briefly while your images are being reviewed. Your healthcare provider will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.

  • Your next appointment is:__________________