What is Computed Tomography?
Computed Tomography (CT), is an advanced X-ray technology that produces a sequence of detailed cross-sectional images of the interior of the head, spine, chest, abdomen or other areas of the body. The complex images are produced with the aid of a computer by rotating a focused X-ray beam around the patient and taking these X-ray images from numerous angles. CT examinations produce detailed organ studies by capturing multiple individual image “slices” which are then viewed in a series-like manner by one of our Radiologists.
What is CT Angiography?
Computerized tomographic angiography, also called CT angiography (CTA), is a radiology test that combines the technology of a conventional CT scan with that of traditional angiography to create detailed images of the blood vessels in the body.
CTA can assess the status of both the large arteries and veins in most parts of the body, including the brain. Traditional angiography involves the injection of contrast dye into a blood vessel to help visualize the status of the blood vessels. When the contrast dye is used to visualize veins, the study is called a venogram, and when it is used to visualize arteries, it is known as an arteriogram. In CT angiography, the dye is always injected into a vein first and as the dye circulates from the veins into the arteries. CT angiography is considered less invasive than the traditional angiogram.
Preparing for a CT & CTA
Some CT procedures require that you do not eat or drink prior to the examination. Prescribed medications may be continued unless you have been instructed otherwise. If you are diabetic, you may need to delay your medication until you can resume eating. If you take Glucophage or Glucovance to regulate your diabetes you will need to discontinue your medication 48 hours prior to your study. If this is concerning, please speak with your physician.
You may be asked to change into a patient gown and remove any jewelry or other items that may interfere with the imaging process.
If you are having a CT of the abdomen or pelvis, please arrive 1 hour prior to your exam to drink an oral contrast. In addition, do not eat or drink for 4 hours prior to the exam. You may have small amounts of water, if needed, to take medications only.
For specific CT and CTA prep instructions, click here.
What should you expect?
For your CT examination you will be asked to lie on a table that slides on a track through a doughnut-shaped opening in the scanner. As the procedure begins, you will hear humming, buzzing or clicking sounds from the CT machine. The table will move in short steps through the scanner as the CT tube rotates around you. At each step, the scanner completes a separate view. The information is processed by the computer and displayed as images on a video screen to the technologist.
You should remain as still as possible to produce the clearest images and you may be asked to do short breath-holds during portions of the exam.
If you are given contrast medium intravenously, you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth and a warm sensation throughout your body. These sensations are harmless and subside within a few moments. Oral contrast medium may cause slight changes in bowel movements, which will soon return to normal.
Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the contrast medium, which is iodine-based. It may be necessary for our staff or your physician to take preventative measures if the iodine-based contrast is needed during your exam. Please let us know if you know or think you are allergic to iodine.
Patients who have diabetes or renal disease require special care because the kidneys are involved in filtering iodine from the bloodstream. These patients should consult with their physician about proper scheduling of the CT scan.
When and how will you receive results?
After your procedure, your physician will receive a copy of your report and he or she will contact you with the results of your exam.
CT & CTA exams are performed at the following locations:
To schedule an appointment, contact us.