What is a CT Scan?

Computed tomography (CT) an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body.

How the Test is Performed?

You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. Depending on the study being done, you may need to lie on your stomach, back, or side.

Once inside the scanner, the machine’s x-ray beam rotates around you. (“spiral” scanners can perform the exam in one continuous motion.)

Small detectors inside the scanner measure the amount of x-rays that make it through the part of the body being studied. A computer takes this information and uses it to create several individual images, called slices. These images can be stored or viewed on a monitor. Three-dimensional models of organs can be created by stacking the individual slices together.

You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your breath for short periods of time.

Generally, complete scans take only a few minutes. The newest multidetector scanners can image your entire body, head to toe, in less than 30 seconds.

Why the Test is Performed?

CT rapidly creates detailed pictures of the body, including the brain, chest, and abdomen. The test may be used to:

  • Study blood vessels
  • Identify masses and tumors, including cancer

How to Prepare for the Test

Certain exams require a special dye, called contrast, to be delivered into the body before the test starts. Contrast can highlight specific areas inside the body, which creates a clearer image.

Contrast may be delivered using an intravenous line (IV) that is placed in a vein. Contrast may also be given through the rectum using an enema, or as a liquid that you drink before the scan. (When you actually drink the contrast depends on the type of exam being done.)

If contrast is used, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test.

Since x-rays have difficulty passing through metal, you may be asked to remove jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the study.

Our Equipment

Siemens Definitions AS CT Scanner

  • CT High-resolution chest
  • CT Lung cancer screenings
  • CT Angiography studies
  • All routine CT scans
  • 3D rendering of bones/vessels

Your Appointment

CT scans are performed on the lower level of our 1118 Hampshire Street building.

If you need to reschedule your appointment or if you have questions, please call 217-222-6550, ext. 3284.