Medical Library

Medical Library

CT (Computed Tomography)

What is CT Scanning?
CT scanning—sometimes called CAT scanning—is a noninvasive, painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT imaging uses special x-ray equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body and a computer to join them together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed. CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity than conventional x-ray exams.

Multiple Common uses of the CT scan
CT scanning of the abdomen/pelvis is typically used to help diagnose the cause of abdominal pain and diseases of the bowel and colon, and also performed to visualize the liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. CT imaging can also play a significant role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vascular disorders that can lead to stroke, gangrene or kidney failure. CT of the chest is used to:
  • Further examine abnormalities found on conventional chest x-rays 
  • Help diagnose clinical signs or symptoms of disease of the chest 
  • Detect and evaluate the extent of tumors that arise in the lung and mediastinum, or tumors that have spread there from other parts of the body 
  • Assess whether tumors are responding to treatment 
  • Help plan radiotherapy 
  • Screen for lung cancer or other lung disorders

A CT Angiogram (CTA) may be performed to evaluate the blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the chest. CT scanning of the head is typically used to detect bleeding, brain damage, skull fractures, aneurysms, blood clots, tumors, enlarged brain cavities, diseases, fractures or malformations of the skull, inflammation of sinuses, and to evaluate the extent of bone and soft tissue damage. CT scanning of the spine is also performed to evaluate the spine, detect tumors, help diagnose spinal pain, and measure bone density.

Patient Preparation for the CAT scan:
  • You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to contrast materials.
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure. 
  • Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
  • You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours beforehand, especially if a contrast material will be used in your exam. 
Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect. Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Abdomen and/or Pelvis CT Preparation:
  • Light dinner the evening before your exam.
  • Fast (nothing to eat or drink) after midnight before your exam.
  • Regular medications may be taken with small amounts of water, if necessary.
  • CT's of the Abdomen and/or Pelvis exams will require you to drink Barium prior to the test. You may pick up the Barium contrast at your physician’s office, at our facility, or you may arrive at least 1 hour prior to the test to drink. 
  • Refrain from chewing gum and smoking after midnight on the day of the examination
  • You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

If your test is ordered with IV contrast:
  • In addition to the Barium, we will need lab results with BUN & Creatinine levels (within one month prior to your scheduled test) for all patients over the age of 65, and/or if you have diabetes or any renal deficiency. Your physician may have this in office, or you may need to have labs drawn. A consent form & IV contrast questionnaire will need to be filled out & signed, prior to your test
Note: If you are allergic to X-Ray IV contrast, you will need to be pre-medicated a few days before your test. You will need to get a prescription from your physician or from our radiologists to be taken before the test.

Preparation for CTs ordered with IV Contrast (Chest, Spine, Head, Extremities, CT Angiograms):
  • We will need Lab Results with BUN & Creatinine levels (lab results within one month prior to your scheduled test) for all patients over the age of 65, and/or if you have diabetes or any renal deficiency. Your physician may have this in office, or you may need to have labs drawn.
  • Many patients also receive iodine intravenously (injected into a vein) to help evaluate blood vessels and organs. This contrast material will be injected into a vein shortly before or during your scan.
  • You will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein. You may have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast materials and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Occasionally, a patient will develop itching and hives, which can be relieved with medication. If you become light-headed or experience difficulty breathing, you should notify the technologist or nurse, as it may indicate a more severe allergic reaction.
  • Fast for at least 4 hours prior to your exam time (nothing to eat or drink). 
  • If your scan scheduled before 12pm (noon), do not eat or drink past midnight the night before your CT test. 
  • If your scan is scheduled after noon, you may eat a very light breakfast, but make sure you do not eat or drink 4 hours prior to your appointment time.
  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
  • Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect. Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. A Consent Form & IV Contrast Questionnaire will need to be filled out & signed, prior to your test

Note: If you are allergic to X-Ray IV contrast, you will need to be pre-medicated a few days before your test. You will need to get a prescription from your physician or from our Radiologists to be taken before the test.

BLUEBONNET

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MID CITY

Address:3600 Florida Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA, 70806
(225) 387-7000