CT Scanning

Frequently Asked Questions

Select question:

How long will the CT exam take?

Since there is such a wide variety of computed tomography procedures performed, the length of time varies. A typical exam will take between 10 to 15 minutes. More involved exams can take longer than 30 minutes.

Is there any preparation for my CT exam?

On the day of your exam, you should arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment. If your exam requires an oral contrast, such as an abdominal scan, you will need to drink it a minimum of 1 hour prior to the start of the exam. This will allow the contrast to coat your stomach and small intestine. You may arrive early or pick up the contrast here at your convenience.

Can I bring someone into the CT room with me?

No. Because CT uses x-ray to acquire the images, only the person having the exam should be in the room during the imaging. Friends or family can wait in our imaging suite while the scan is being performed.

Can I have a CT exam if I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant you should NOT have a CT examination or any form of exam that involves x-ray. Pregnant women or those who think they may be pregnant should immediately inform the technologist.

Do I need a contrast injection for the CT exam?

Not everyone needs an injection of contrast for their exam. The injection is given when the radiologist and/or the referring physician determines that it is necessary. The decision to use contrast is based on the patient's history and the type of study to be performed.

Can I have a CT exam if I have a pacemaker?

Yes. Since CT uses x-ray to acquire its images, it is safe for a person with a pacemaker to have a scan without complications. MRI, which uses a strong magnetic field to acquire images, could interfere with a pacemaker. If you have a pacemaker you should NOT go near the MRI machine.

Is the radiation from the CT exam dangerous?

The radiation received from a typical CT scan is about four times the natural radiation level received annually. We have the latest generation scanners which use a fraction of the radiation dose of older machines.

Can I talk during the exam?

You may speak to the technologist in between scans. It is very important that you remain still during the exam. If you have any concerns, the technologist or nurse will be on hand to answer all of your questions.

Are there any restrictions after the exam?

After the CT exam is completed and the technologist is sure enough information has been obtained, you may leave and go about your normal routines with no restrictions. If you have received contrast for your exam, you should drink plenty of liquids for the next 24 hours.