CT Patient Preparation

Patient Preparation

Your doctor or the site where you are having your CT scan will provide you with detailed instructions before the study. If you need instructions or more information, you can contact Premier Imaging for that information.

Please wear comfortable clothing that has no metal buttons or accessories. Some CT scans require that you drink some x-ray dye beforehand. Other CT scans may require a small injection of x-ray dye into your veins during the scanning. If that is the case, your doctor may order some precautionary blood work ahead of time. If you need to receive the dye in your veins, you will need to tell your doctor or the CT scan technologist about any allergies (other medications, shell fish, peanuts, etc…), and provide them a list of your medications.
Pregnant patients should only be scanned if there is an urgent condition. If you are of child bearing age, your doctor or the technologist doing the scan may ask if there is any chance you could be pregnant (even very early pregnancy). For safety reasons, we do not want to expose any embryo or fetus to unnecessary radiation. If you are unsure of the first day of your last period, or if that date was greater than 10 days ago, a blood test to see if you might have an early pregnancy may be required as a precaution.

The Day of the Test

On the day of the exam, please follow the instructions provided by your doctor, or from Premier Imaging. You may need to arrive early to register or to drink some x-ray dye.
Please do not eat or drink anything 3 hours before the examination is scheduled (unless your doctor or Premier Imaging gave you some dye to drink for the study).

When you arrive in the department, a CT technologist (a professional specially trained to use the scanner) will greet you and explain the procedure in detail. The technologist will answer your questions. The technologist may also ask you some questions regarding your medical history, any medications you take, and any history of allergies. If you are of child bearing age, the technologist will also ask you about the possibility of being pregnant. You may be brought to a changing area to store your valuables, and if necessary, to put on a hospital gown.

Depending upon the examination ordered you may have already been given some dye to drink or Premier Imaging will have you drink the dye after you have arrived in the department.

During the CT Scan

The technologist will take you into the CT scanner room, and have you lay on the CT scanner table. Most of the time, you will be lying on your back. Sometimes, the technologist will loosely wrap your body with a Velcro strap to secure you. If you are having a CT scan of the brain or neck, your head may be placed in a soft foam holder.

The actual CT scan is very quick. The whole study will only last a few minutes. The individual scans are done in a few minutes. The technologist will not be in the room as the scanning takes place, but will be a few feet away, in a separate room watching you as the scan is taking place and you may communicate thru an intercom system. As the scanning occurs, the technologist may give you breathing instructions. Because modern CT scanners are so fast (scanning your entire body in a few seconds), following these instructions is very important. Simple breathing motion or wiggling around can cause blurry images, preventing the radiologist to interpret diagnostic images clearly.

Some CT scans need dye (also called contrast) to be injected into your veins. If your study requires dye, the technologist will start a small IV in your veins, through which to inject the dye. The scanning may take place before and during the dye injection, depending of the type of scan you have. Most patients experience a small amount of pain when the IV is started; otherwise the dye injection is painless. Some patients experience a transient, 10-15 second sensation of warmth as the dye is injected. Some patients experience a slightly metallic taste in their mouth which lasts only a few seconds. On rare occasions, patients experience a degree of nausea. Shortness of breath and itching are very rare sensations. Please inform the technologist if you experience itching or shortness of breath.

After the CT Scan

After the technologist is sure the images are of the best possible quality, the study will be given to the radiologist, (a doctor specially trained to interpret diagnostic images) for interpretation. The radiologist will then issue a report describing the findings and diagnosis. Our doctor should receive the report shortly thereafter and will then go over the findings with you.

Scheduling a CT Scan

For your convenience CT scans can be scheduled in advance. Premier Imaging can be contacted to schedule a CT scan and to get any further information. If you have had a barium swallow, small bowel series, barium enema or upper gastrointestinal series in the past few days, please let your doctor or scheduler know. Residual barium can degrade a CT scan. For this reason, we want to be sure that all barium has passed before doing a CT scan.