A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is a safe and painless procedure used to capture dramatic cross-sectional images of the body.

Many people think the scanner looks like a giant 'doughnut.' During the scan, the area of interest will be passed through the scanner's doughnut hole, also known as the gantry. Using low dose X-Rays, the CT scanner will take pictures of your body from different angles.

The Flinn Clinic offers CT scans for all parts of the anatomy. You can review information specific to your scan by selecting from the 'study type' menu in the right column.

Prep and Safety

Do not eat or drink four hours prior to your study. You may take your medications with water. Some patients may be asked to drink oral contrast before their study, which enhances the images. Typically, we ask patients to arrive one hour in advance to drink oral contrast; however some patients may receive oral contrast in advance with instructions specific to their study. In some cases, no oral contrast may be necessary.

  • If drinking contrast, please arrive one hour and 15 minutes prior to your exam time.
  • If your study does not require contrast, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam.

For your safety, please notify our scheduling department and technologists:

  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have severe allergies, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to X-ray dye or iodine
  • Of any medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or kidney stones
  • If you have a history of renal failure, liver or kidney transplant
  • Diabetic patients should discontinue use of Glucophage and Glucovance 48 hours after the procedure

The Experience

During your visit, a patient advocate will show you to the changing area and can assist you if necessary. We encourage patients to leave valuables at home.

The technologist is specially trained and certified by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists to take care of you during your CT scan. The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT table. Your body may be supported by pillows to hold you still and in the proper position during the scan. As the study proceeds, the table will move slowly through the CT scanner's 'doughnut.' Depending on the area of the body we are imaging, the increments of movement may be so small that they are almost undetectable, or you may feel the sensation of motion. CT scan time is typically 10 to 20 minutes.

Some studies will require IV-injected contrast agents to help us visualize certain tissue or blood vessels. Some patients describe a metallic taste or tingling sensation right after the injection. This is normal and usually subsides very quickly.

After the Exam

  • You may be asked to wait until the technologist or radiologist reviews your images.
  • A sub-specialized radiologist will interpret your images and prepare a diagnostic report for your physician.
  • Results are usually made available to your physician 24 hours. If outside comparison studies are required, it may take longer for your results to be made available.
  • Your physician will determine how the radiologists' report can be used to develop a treatment plan and speak with you about your results.

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