CT Scan - Computed Tomography

What is a CT scan?

CT (also known as "CAT") stands for Computed Tomography, and painlessly and rapidly creates detailed images of the body using x-rays in a specialized machine in which the x-ray tube rotates around the body. A computer is used to figure out the sum of x-ray shadows that its detector "sees" on its rotations, and is able to create very detailed cross-sectional images of any part of the body.

What are the advantages of CT?

CT scans are fast and non-invasive. They provide much more detailed information than plain x-rays because they examine the body from all angles and multiple slices are obtained through the region being imaged. Bones as well as soft tissue organs and blood vessels alike are well visualized.

What are the risks of CT?

CT uses x-rays, a form of ionizing radiation, to obtain images. Our highly trained technologists take special care to ensure maximum safety. Additionally, the CT scanners have built-in safety systems to keep the exposure to a minimum. TRG and the Providence hospitals where the scanners are located are committed to the ALARA principle, which states that the radiation dose will be As Low As Reasonably Achievable to obtain a diagnostic quality study.

What can I expect?

During your procedure you will be asked to lie on a table that will move you through a donut-shaped scanner. Your technologist will give you specific instructions so that you don't move or breathe during the scanning time. While you are being scanned, you may hear a whirring sound, which is the scanner moving quickly around your body. You may feel the table move to correctly position the body.

Some CT scans require an intravenous injection of a contrast agent ("dye") to differentiate vessels and various organs. The contrast agents used are safe for most patients; your technologist will take a detailed allergy inventory prior to your injection to make sure that you are not predisposed to an allergic reaction to the contrast. If you have had a reaction with a previous contrast injection, be sure to communicate that with the technologist.

Most CT procedures take less than 30 minutes to complete. Once your scan is complete, you will be able to return to your normal activities.

How should I prepare?

Some CT procedures require that you not eat or drink prior to your examination. You can continue your prescribed medications unless you have been instructed to do otherwise. If you have diabetes, you may need to delay your medication until you can resume eating. If you take Glucophage or Glucovance to regulate your diabetes, you will need to discontinue your medication 48 hours prior to the study. If this is concerning, we encourage you to speak with your physician.

Your procedure may require that you change into an exam gown or remove glasses, dentures, hearing aids, and other items that may impede the view.

How do I get the results?

After your CT procedure is complete, the TRG radiologists will review your study and report the findings to your ordering physician. Follow up with your physician for scan results and care plan.

Your CT procedure can be performed at:

CT Angiography

What is Angiography?

The advancement of imaging techniques such as the CT (Computed Tomography) has granted access into viewing the body in ways that were once thought impossible. Radiologists now can perform angiograms using these techniques without a hospital visit and down time typically necessary after a standard angiogram.

Angiograms visualize blood vessels. There are many reasons why your doctor may feel an angiogram is indicated. Typical indication include pain in the legs when walking, diseases of the brain (including stroke and stroke precursors), high blood pressure, tumors, congenital abnormalities of blood vessels, and many others.

What should I expect?

The CT angiogram usually takes about 20 minutes and involve an IV injection in the arm. You can go home immediately after the procedure. The risk associated with these procedures is a very rare risk of allergic reaction to the contrast or infection at the IV site. The technologist will discuss this with you prior to the exam. You may also have questions for the radiologist, which we will be happy to answer. The images acquired during your angiogram are processed with very high speed computers and three dimensional pictures of your vessels are then available for the radiologist to review.

How should I prepare?

Before some exams, you'll be asked to not to eat or drink for a period of time. Usual prescribed medications should be continued. Diabetic patients may need to delay their medication until after they have eaten in order to avoid an insulin reaction. You may wear a hospital gown and may have to remove anything which interferes with X-rays such as glasses, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, etc. Women should always inform their CT technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

How do I get the results?

After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our radiologists, with expertise in CT angiography imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor who can then discuss the results with you in detail.

Should you have any questions regarding angiography, we will be glad to discuss them with you.

Your CTA or MRA procedure can be performed at: