A CT scan-sometimes knows as a cat scan-is used to provide a three dimensional image of a portion of the body. This painless medical test can be used to create images of the head, lungs and heart, abdomen and extremities.

CT is used as a diagnostic tool for physicians. Sometimes patients need a contrast material to highlight specific parts of the body. If a contrast material is used, it will be swallowed, injected through an intravenous line (IV) or administered by enema, depending on the type of examination.

Exam preparation: Depending upon the type of exam you may need preparation may involve having oral contrast to drink or IV contrast injected, please contact the radiology department for special instructions.

Notify a member of the imaging staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.

During the exam: During the exam you will be asked to lay on flat imaging table while an open tube, shaped much like a donut, rotates around the portion of your body being scanned. If your scan requires contrast fluid you may feel a momentary warm sensation as the fluid travels through your body. A CT scan will typically between five and 30 minutes.

After your exam: After your appointment your scans will be sent to a radiologist and referring physician. Your physician will contact you to discuss your scan results. You should feel no side effects from the scan.