Computed Tomography (CT)

What is Computed Tomography (CT)?

CT scanning – sometimes called CAT scanning – is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

CT scanning combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.

CT Radiation Dose Reduction

Hoag is working to improve patient safety by optimizing scan parameters that reduce patient dose as much as possible without compromising diagnostic quality. An efficient process has been developed to monitor, manage, and optimize patient radiation dose. Hoag is on track to reduce CT radiation dose for CT procedures by 20%.

What to Expect

CT exams are generally painless, fast and easy. With helical CT, the amount of time that the patient needs to lie still is reduced.

Though the scanning itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still for several minutes. If you have a hard time staying still, are claustrophobic or have chronic pain, you may find a CT exam to be stressful. The technologist or nurse, under the direction of a physician, may offer you some medication to help you tolerate the CT scanning procedure.

If an intravenous contrast material is used, you will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein. You may have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast material and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Some patients may experience a sensation like they have to urinate but this subsides quickly.

If the contrast material is swallowed, you may find the taste mildly unpleasant; however, most patients can easily tolerate it. You can expect to experience a sense of abdominal fullness and an increasing need to expel the liquid if your contrast material is given by enema. In this case, be patient, as the mild discomfort will not last long.

You may receive additional specific instructions when you schedule your appointment depending upon the type of procedure that will be performed.

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