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.