CT scans, sometimes called CAT scanning, is one of the imaging services provided by Premier Diagnostic Imaging. CT scans use special x-ray equipment to obtain images from different angles, which are then processed by a computer to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs.
From our tech assistant and RN to our CT technologist, everyone on our patient care team works to make the CT scan process less intimidating. Plus, at Premier, we pay attention to the little things too, like using soft, calming lights.
During your scan, you will be comfortably positioned on a CT table. Pillows may help you stay in the proper position during the procedure. Next, the table will move slowly into the opening of the CT scanner. As the machine rotates around you and takes images, tiny amounts of x-ray radiation will pass through your body. A CT examination usually takes between 15-30 minutes.
Depending on your exam, a contrast material may be injected into a vein to enhance the visibility of blood vessels and kidneys. The contrast also accentuates the difference between normal and abnormal tissue in organs. Some people report feeling a flush of heat or a metallic taste in the back of the mouth. These sensations usually disappear within a minute or two. Side effects are rare, and registered nurses will be available throughout your procedure.
Arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, without zippers or snaps. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for up to four hours before the exam. You will also need to avoid caffeine and smoking for at least four hours prior to the exam to keep your heart rate down. Women should inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Patient lockers are available for jewelry and other valuable items; however, you are encouraged to leave all jewelry at home during procedures.
At Premier, we choose our imaging equipment for image accuracy and patient comfort. Our Siemens Somatom CT Definition Edge 128 uses state-of-the-art technology to produce quality images while significantly reducing the amount of radiation used – all without sacrificing image quality the radiologists need to make an accurate diagnosis.
The speed of the CT allows us to reduce image distortions based on patient motion. And thanks to iMAR technology (iterative metal artifact reduction), even patients with metal implants (such as a hip implant or non-removable dental work) can get better quality images.
Our equipment also helps reduce the “noise” (unwanted graininess) sometimes seen with bariatric patients. By the way, our table limit is a generous 500 pounds.