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CT scans are an advanced diagnostic tool that gives doctors a better view of a patient’s whole body. CT scans provide cross-sectional images of the body and allow doctors to really focus and examine one area of the body.
Unlike an X-ray that only shows bone, CT scans reveal all of your tissues and organs in a precise manner. CT scanners use X-ray technology but have the ability to rotate around the body. A powerful computer creates multiple cross-sectional (slices) images of the body so doctors can analyze internal structures after a traumatic injury or illness.
Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta is committed to keeping pace with advances in modern medical technology. We offer patients one of the most technologically advanced CT scanners on the market today. There is no need for our patients to travel when we can diagnose and treat patients with advanced technology right here in Mt. Shasta.
What is a CT scan?
A CT scan (also called CAT scan), stands for Computerized Tomography. CT scans use X-rays to make detailed pictures of the internal structures of your body in cross section like slices of the inside of your body. During the test, you will lie on the table that is attached to the scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body area being studied.
How long will my CT exam take?
Depending on the type of exam you will receive, the length of the actual procedure will typically be between 10 to 30 minutes. Exam time may vary depending on the nature of your study.
What happens after the CT scan and when will results be provided?
The Radiologist will study your images and dictate the findings. Once the images have been read, your physician will receive the report to review with you.
Why do I need to drink contrast?
The oral contrast fills the colon and small bowel for better visualization on the images.
Why do I need the IV contrast?
The IV contrast enhances all of the vascular structures on the images (i.e. liver, pancreas, kidneys). It will also characterize potential pathology.
Could I have a reaction to the IV contrast?
Yes, but the chances are minimal. It has the same risk for reaction as any medication does, which is why we use contrast screening forms—to flag possible patients who are at risk for having a reaction to the contrast.
Why is a head CT done most frequently without IV?
Most pathology can be detected in the brain without IV contrast. If there is suspicion, contrast may be given or a MRI might be suggested for further evaluation.
Is it ok that I took my medication(s) this morning before I came?
Yes. Any type of medication is fine to take the morning of your exam. For patients who are NPO, please do not take medication 2 hours before your exam. If you take a certain kind of diabetic medication, you may be asked to withhold for 48 hours after the exam.
What is this test going to show?
A CT scan is a good way to image and evaluate bones, internal organs, the brain and vascular structures within the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
Even though you may be asked to change into a gown once you show up for your procedure, consider wearing comfortable and loose-fit clothing. You will be given instructions on removing the following objects, as these may affect CT images:
If contrast material is used during your procedure, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for a few hours beforehand.
You will want to inform the technologist and facility performing the CT procedure the following information:
After this, try to relax during your CT scan, the technologist are professional and will address any questions that you may have prior to the CT scan. Thinking positive thoughts, can help pass the time quickly.
We are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call 530.926.9359 to make an appointment.
If you have a question about your exam, please call our department at 530.926.9335.