CT (Computerized Tomography)

A CT scan is a medical imaging exam that produces cross-sectional images. It is a special type of x-ray that produces three-dimensional images of the body and can distinguish bone, tissue, fat, gas and fluid. It can often replace other diagnostic techniques such as exploratory surgery and other invasive procedures. This procedure is commonly used to detect or rule out tumors, blood clots, enlarged ventricles, enlarged lymph nodes, pancreatic disease, back problems, lung cancer and many other disorders.

The purpose of a CT scan is to:

  • Provide detailed images for detecting disease.
  • Useful in monitoring your progress during or after treatment.
  • Determine if a growth is solid or fluid-filled, and if an organ’s size and shape are normal.

A technologist will position you on the examination table. You will then be moved into the doughnut-shaped scanner. As the equipment scans you will hear the whirring sound of the machinery.

After the exam the radiologist will provide your physician with an interpretation of the results of your CT scan. Your physician can then make a diagnosis and explain the findings.

Patient Preparation

Sometimes a liquid called contrast medium is necessary to highlight certain structures. This is given to you either in the form of a drink, through an IV or both. If contrast is needed for your exam, you will be asked to avoid foods and fluids for up to four hours prior to your scan. Be sure to tell your physician if you have any allergies, especially to iodine. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. You may even be asked to change into a gown. Jewelry, hairpins, and eyeglasses must be removed if you are having a scan of your head.

Specific Exam Preparation

Oral contrast is given for the following exams. It is a barium sulfate drink called Readi-cat. Please refrigerate and shake well before using.

CT Scan of abdomen:

  • Do not eat or drink four hours prior to your exam.
  • Drink one bottle of Readi-cat two hours prior to your exam.
  • When you arrive in the CT department, you will receive an additional cup of Readi-cat to drink.

CT Scan of abdomen and pelvis:

  • Do not eat or drink four hours prior to your exam.
  • Drink one bottle of Readi-cat three hours prior to your exam.
  • Drink the second bottle an hour and a half later.
  • When you arrive in the CT department, you will receive an additional cup of Readi-cat to drink

Applications and Treatments

Cardiac Scoring

Cardiac Scoring is a new, pain-free, non-invasive, inexpensive procedure requiring less than 10 or 15 minutes. Using CT imaging equipment with sub-second scanning ability, the examination takes 70-90 images of your coronary arteries without any injections, needles or other inconveniences. The amount of calcium or plaque detected in the coronary arteries is used to establish your cardiac score. The cardiac score is then calculated based on the findings and correlated with the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The radiation exposure during cardiac scoring is very small. No intravenous injections or needles are required. The procedure is safe and also simple. This requires a prescription by a referring physician to perform this test.

First you complete a brief questionnaire provided by the radiology department.
Next you lay down on the imaging table where a CT technologist places a few EKG leads on your chest and asks you to hold your breath while the images are taken (for a few seconds). Subsequently, the radiologist uses high-tech software to calculate your cardiac score based on the images taken. Then results should be available within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Low Dose Screening CT for the Detection of Lung Cancer

This procedure is for people at high risk for developing lung cancer, i.e.: smokers with 10-year history or other high-risk patients. A prescription from your referring physician is required for this low-dose, screening CT procedure.

Low dose screening CT’s are intended to supplement or replace routine chest films which are performed on patients without symptoms or known disease. The test is specifically designed to rapidly screen the lungs with minimal radiation exposure and allow detection of pulmonary nodules. No intravenous contrast is used.

A brief, risk-factor questionnaire is completed. Next you lay down on the imaging table where the CT technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a short period of time. Your exam is complete in 20 seconds and you return to your regular routine. The procedure is pain-free, non-invasive and inexpensive. We are able to offer this procedure because we have the latest helical CT scanner with current software and hardware, namely our Light Speed Ultra and Light Speed Plus CT imaging machines.

A radiologist will read the results of the examination and results should be available in twenty-four to forty-eight hours.