Short for Computerized Tomography, CT scans are special types of X-rays. They provide images of the body’s internal workings to identify abnormalities or anything else that requires further medical treatments, such as surgery. If you are preparing for a CT scan for the first time, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the procedure.
FAQ About CT Scans
How are CT scans different from X-rays & MRIs?
X-rays provide overlapping images of the body, unlike CT scans which produce cross-sectional images after the X-ray machine rotates around the patient. MRIs differ in that they do not use radiation to capture images. Instead, they rely on radio waves and a strong magnet to send images of the body’s interior to a computer.
What happens before the exam?
You will be asked to remove anything metal that can hinder image results before changing into a hospital gown, such as jewelry or a belt with metal pieces. Depending on what you need the CT scan for, you may be asked to ingest a contrast liquid so certain parts of the body become more visible. The liquid is also administered intravenously.
How long does it last?
CT scans typically last five to 15 minutes depending on what part of the body is being examined. You may have to consume the contrast agent anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes before your exam.
What will the examination itself entail?
This painless exam requires lying on your back, stomach, or side depending on what body part is under observation. The table slides into a tube-like structure that captures special x-rays from all sides as you lie there. You may be outfitted with straps and pillows to help your body remain in place.
What can I expect after the scan?
Your radiology team will ask you to wait for a few minutes to ensure you feel well after your exam. You will also be instructed to drink lots of water to flush the contrast medium from your body. CT scans otherwise do not interfere with your return to normal daily activities.
If you have yet to schedule your CT scan, contact Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center. The Kenai, AK-based center provides high-quality imaging results within a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere to customers throughout the region, including Soldotna. MRI and X-ray services are also available. Call (907) 335-4674 today to make an appointment or learn more about the affordable, independent clinic online. Like the Facebook page for health and wellness tips.