A CT scan — also called CAT scan, computed axial tomography scan, or computed tomography scan — quickly produces layered, 3-D images of the inside of the body.
For example, by doing a CT scan, our doctors at Dignity Health can better see the organs inside your chest, abdomen, pelvis, and head, as well as your bones, joints, and spine.
Your doctor will let you know if they recommend a CT scan in Arizona, whether during an emergency situation or a scheduled procedure. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or use our online waiting service, InQuicker™, to select your estimated arrival time at one of our state-of-the-art emergency rooms.
Why Dignity Health Experts Do CT Scans
Doctors use CT scans to diagnose and evaluate a range of symptoms and conditions and provide treatment. A CT scan may help your doctor:
- Diagnose the cause of symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, vision and speech changes, and abdominal pain
- Scan for fractures, organ damage, and internal bleeding from car accidents and other trauma
- Plan surgery and monitor treatment, including gamma knife cancer surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and organ transplant
- Guide procedures such as cancer treatment, biopsy, and abscess drainage
Need a CT scan in the near future? Find a Doctor at Dignity Health who can provide expert care.
What to Expect When Having a CT Scan at Dignity Health
Using the latest technologies and techniques, a radiologic technician will perform your CT scan in a radiology clinic or hospital. The scan can last up to 30 minutes.
During the CT scan, you lie on a table that slowly moves through a large, ring-shaped machine. It encircles one part of your body parts at a time, but it does not completely enclose you. The technician may ask you to hold your breath or hold still at certain times while the scanner takes pictures.
Sometimes a contrast dye is necessary to help your doctor see certain body areas. Your technician may give you this dye by mouth, by injection, or with an enema.
Dignity Health also offers cardiac artery scans, also called CTA scans. This is a noninvasive way to find out if you have plaque in your coronary arteries.
What Your Results Mean
CT scans can help doctors diagnose:
- Internal bleeding from organ or blood vessel damage
- Infections such as appendicitis and abscesses
- Heart and lung conditions, including coronary artery disease and pneumonia
- Blood vessel problems such as blood clots and aneurysms
- Gastrointestinal conditions, including gallstones, inflammation, and infection
- Bone and joint conditions, including fractures, herniated disc, and arthritis
- Tumors, including cancer and benign masses
Your doctor will share the results of your CT scan with you as soon as possible and discuss your options, including treatment recommendations and referrals to specialists. Dignity Health has many places to get a CT (CAT) scan across Arizona in an emergency or as part of your routine care.