Learn how to prepare and what to expect for your computed tomography, or CT, scan at Adventist HealthCare.
Rest assured you’ll get care from highly qualified staff who follow best practices. All Adventist HealthCare Imaging locations that offer CT scans hold accreditation in the procedure from the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Your imaging team will be led by a board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologist. This means your provider has the highest level of training. You may get care from a radiologist who specializes in using CT scans to diagnose and plan treatment for conditions that affect the brain, spine, nerves, muscles and skeleton.
What’s a CT Scan?
A CT scan (also known as computerized axial tomography, or CAT, scan) is a diagnostic imaging test. The CT machine sends X-rays from different angles to create detailed, 3D images of the inside of your body. Your doctor may recommend this exam to diagnose a health condition or make choices about the treatment that’s best for you.
Types of CT Scans
Depend on our team to make sure your CT scan is as fast, safe and accurate as possible. At a convenient location close to you, access services such as:
Specialized CT Scans for Children
Trust our team to make sure your child is as safe and comfortable as possible during their exam. Your child’s imaging team will use a machine approved for pediatric patients and a lower dose X-ray.
How to Prepare
When you schedule your appointment, tell your scheduler if you:
- Are allergic to intravenous (IV) or oral contrast
- Are breastfeeding
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Have diabetes or kidney disease
Ask your appointment scheduler how to get ready. The way you prepare depends on if your scan uses or does not use contrast. Contrast is a dye that highlights areas inside the body in your test results.
CT Scan Without Contrast
If you have a CT scan that doesn’t use contrast:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for preparing for your exam in the days and hours before the test.
- Arrive at the imaging center at least 15 minutes before your appointment.
- Wear loose, metal-free clothing. Do not wear jewelry.
CT Scan With IV Contrast
If your CT scan uses IV contrast, you will need a test known as a blood urea nitrogen (BUN) or creatinine report if you:
- Are 60 or older
- Have diabetes
- Have a history of kidney disease or kidney failure
- Have one kidney
Ask your doctor or scheduler how to get a BUN or creatinine test. Send the results to our office within 30 days of the exam or bring them with you on the day of your appointment.
On the Day of Your Scan
If your CT scan uses IV contrast:
- Do not eat for four hours before an abdomen or pelvis scan. You can drink clear liquids.
- Do not eat or drink anything for four hours before a brain, spine, chest, arm, leg or kidney stone scan.
- Take your medications as directed.
- Wear loose, metal free-clothing. Do not wear jewelry.
Before your scan, your technologist will use an IV to insert the contrast into your body.
CT Scan With Oral Contrast
If you’re having a CT scan with oral contrast, arrive at the imaging office 90 minutes before your exam time to drink the contrast. You can bring your own 36-ounce, non-carbonated beverage to mix with the contrast.
What to Bring
Bring the following to your appointment:
- Any scans or reports from outside of Adventist HealthCare
- Insurance cards and photo ID
- List of current medications
- Referral from your physician
- BUN or creatinine test results, if applicable
What to Expect
You may change into a gown. Your technologist will help you get onto the exam table. The table will move your body through the CT scanner.
Stay as still as possible so the scanner can take the best images possible. Your provider may ask you to hold your breath. Let our staff know if staying still is hard for you.
How Long Does It Last?
Your CT scan will take 10 to 15 minutes.
When Will I Get My Results?
Your radiologist will examine your test results and send them to your doctor within 24 hours.
Based on the results of your CT scan, you and your doctor will work together to create a care plan that’s right for you.