What to Expect During a CT (CAT) Scan?

Did you know that over 80 million CT/CAT scans get performed in the United States every single year? Some people don’t realize that a CT scan and a CAT scan are the same thing. CT stands for computerized tomography and CAT stands for computerized axial tomography. These scans are done for a number of reasons although they are particularly good at imagining bones. They can help doctors diagnose and treat many different conditions, including cancers and chronic illnesses. People with metal fragments or devices can use a CT scan because no magnets are involved. If your doctor orders a CT scan, you may feel scared or uneasy. These are very common feelings. Fortunately, learning what to expect during a CT scan is a way to help alleviate your fears and prepare you for the test ahead.

How do CT Scans Work?

Lung CT Scan

CT scans use a narrow X-ray beam to provide doctors with a series of images of your body from different angles. A computer then uses these images to piece together a detailed view of your organs and other tissues. This can help medical professionals make better choices on the types of procedures, surgeries, and treatment options that may be available.

These CT scans are either performed at a hospital or an outpatient radiology center. Traditionally outpatient centers can provide exceptional results at a fraction of the cost of hospitals. As such, be sure to check with your local imaging center before making a decision on where to get your CT scan performed.

What to Expect During a CT Scan

During your CT scan, a radiology technologist will perform the procedure for you. Before the test, you may be advised not to eat or drink anything. If you are undergoing a CT scan with contrast, your technician will give you either an injection of contrast or you will be asked to drink a liquid with the contrast material inside.

You will also need to remove any metal objects, such as jewelry, watches, and other objects. Your technician will ask you to undress and wear a hospital gown during the CT scan.

During the CT scan, you will lie on a table inside the CT machine. This machine is shaped like a doughnut. The table you lie on will move you in and out of the scanner slowly. You will need to remain calm and still at all times. Movement can blur the images. Your technician may also ask you to hold your breath at times to get better images.

It is important to know that CT machines can be noisy (although less noisy than MRIs). There may be loud buzzing noises and sounds that can be uncomfortable for some people.

The entire scan can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Afterward, you can return home with few side effects. If you had a CT scan with contrast, your doctor may tell you to drink lots of fluids to help your kidneys remove the material from your body efficiently.

CT Scans We Offer

At ImageCare Radiology, we offer a wide range of CT scan options, including CT urograms, PET-CT scans, and contrast scans. With over 20 locations throughout New Jersey, you can rest easier knowing we are here whenever you need us most.

Schedule Your Radiology Procedure Today

At ImageCare Radiology, we offer a variety of diagnostic imaging services, including CT Scans, and other neurological imaging. We offer caring and compassionate support throughout your scan so that you can feel comfortable during the process. If your doctor has requested any type of imaging service to help you diagnose your issues, give us a call today at 973-871-3333 to schedule an appointment or complete our convenient online appointment request form.