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Imaging & Radiology

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

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Computerized Tomography (CT) 


What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan, also known as a CAT scan or Computed Tomography, is a special kind of X-ray that takes pictures of a cross-section of a part of your body. CT scans may be used to find certain conditions that regular X-rays cannot find. CT scans also can be used to monitor progress during or after medical treatment for some conditions. The CT scanner is comprised of an X-ray tube that moves around your body. The CT scanner then sends signals to a computer.


What Happens During a CT Scan?

When it is time for your scan, you may be asked to change into an exam gown. Clothing with snaps and zippers may interfere with the scan. For most Abdomen CT scans, you may be told not to eat or drink for four hours before the exam. During the scan, you will lie on a padded table that is connected to the CT scanner. The table will move a short distance every few seconds to position you in the scanner. The machine will not touch you and the scan should be painless. It is very important that you lie completely still during the scan. Sometimes, a contrast material (X-ray dye) is used to outline blood vessels or organs to make them easier to see. If you receive a contrast medium through an IV, it will be given at this time. You may feel a brief flush or a metallic taste in your mouth from the contrast. This should pass. Before the scan, it is important that you let us know if you have ever had an allergic reaction to X-ray dye or if you are allergic to iodine.

Should you have any discomfort during the test or after the injection, inform the technologist. The average time for any CT exam is 15 - 20 minutes.

How Do I Prepare for the CT Scan?

Depending on the type of study being done, you may be asked to drink contrast material. CT scans without contrast usually do not require special preparation. If your referring physician needs to order an Abdominal CT scan with an oral (by mouth) contrast, you may be asked to arrive an hour before your scan so you have enough time to drink the contrast before the CT is performed. Usually, you can take any medicines you might need with a small sip of water during those four hours. Your doctor will give you any special instructions that you may need before your scan. Be sure to follow the instructions or ask questions if you do not fully understand.

It is important that you notify us if you are, or think you might be, pregnant.

And if you are diabetic, please let us know if you are taking Glucophage, Glucovancel or Metformin. If so, the staff will ask you to stop taking your medication for 48 hours after the CT.

What happens after the CT Scan?

A radiologist reads your CT Scan, and the results are reported directly back to your doctor. Your insurance is filed for the scan. You are responsible for any co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles that have not been met. Co-pays, co-insurance and the deductibles are due at the time of service. 

Questions About This Procedure?

If you have any additional questions about this procedure, please contact a member of the Baylor Diagnostic Imaging Center staff where you are scheduled.