What to Expect When Getting a CT Scan

A CT (computed tomography) scan, also referred to as a CAT (computed axial tomography) scan, is an x-ray technique used to create a cross-sectional image. CT scans are used to detect tumors and to continue tracking any changes in their growth.

When preparing for your scan day, wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove any items that contain metal. You should also follow the specific preparation guidelines given to you by your doctor.

Once in the scan room, you can expect to have an IV inserted or to drink a contrast agent. These contrast agents allow your organs to appear brighter so the doctor can easily view the darker tumor areas. You will be instructed to lie down and the table will move into the scanner. There is no pain associated with the scan, but you will have to lie completely still and may need to hold your breath for a few seconds. The whole CT scan should be over in a matter of minutes and you can immediately resume your normal activities, including driving.

The scan results will be sent to your doctor and they will look for tumor shrinkage, stability or growth and will maintain or adjust your treatment plan accordingly. If you are interested in learning more about CT scans, visit RadiologyInfo.org.