CT Scan: Computed Tomography

CT Scan: Computed Tomography

A CT scan uses X-ray technology to take multiple views of the inside of the body. Compared to regular X-rays, a CT scan can take clearer and more detailed images of organs, bone, soft tissue, blood vessels and other parts of the body.

Some of the primary uses for CT scans include:

Looking for bleeding inside the body, especially the in the skull
Studying the chest and abdomen
Determining the size and location of a tumor
Diagnosing skeletal problems
Diagnosing blood vessel diseases
Planning radiation treatments for cancer
Guiding biopsies and other tests
Planning surgery
Identifying injuries from trauma

Are CT Scans Safe?

Complications could result from the contrast material used in the study, causing:

Your medical history
Medications you take
Whether you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant

Before your test, follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any changes to your medications or diet.

At the healthcare facility:

A healthcare professional will explain the test and answer any questions you may have.
You will remove your clothes and put on a gown or robe.
You will remove all jewelry, hair clips, dentures, and other objects that could show on the x-rays and make the images hard to read.
If your CT scan includes oral contrast material, you will need to drink the contrast material at this time.

The CT Scan

You will need to wait for the technician to review your images. In some cases, more images will need to be taken. The CT images will be sent to a radiologist who will analyze them. Your doctor will receive the results and discuss them with you.

Signs of a CT Scan Complication
After the test, call your doctor if you experience signs of an allergic reaction, like:

Hives, itching, nausea, swollen or itchy eyes, tight throat or difficulty breathing

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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