CT Scans

Preparing for Your CT Scan

Wear comfortable clothing, preferably clothes with no zipper, buttons or snaps, such as a sweat suit. You will also need to remove jewelry, eyeglasses, and anything else with metal, especially if it's near the area being scanned. Gowns are available if needed.

Before

During

After

Results

What should I expect BEFORE my CT scan?

Medications

It is important for you to bring a list of your current medications with you, so we will know what you may have taken prior to your exam.

If you are diabetic and take diabetic medications, you should take your prescribed dose as normal the day of the exam, but discontinue the next doses for 48 hours after the CT scan.

You may be asked to arrive 45 minutes to an hour early and given an oral contrast to drink before the procedure. This helps to enhance pictures of the stomach, small intestines and bowel. In some cases, the contrast agent is administered as an enema. If this is the case, you will be informed of this prior to your appointment.

Food and Drink

For most CT scans there are no restrictions on what you may eat or drink. For the exceptions, instructions will be given at the time your appointment is scheduled.

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What will I experience DURING my CT scan?

You may have an IV started if you are scheduled to receive intravenous contrast material. This contrast may make you have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes.

If you are receiving oral contrast material (contrast that 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 material is given by enema. In this case, the mild sensation will not last long. 

Your technologist will have you lie on the scanning table, sometimes using straps and foam pillows to position your body. The technologist is required to leave the room during the exam, however, she will be able to see you during the scan as well as communicate with you through an intercom.

The scan table will move through the scanner as needed to obtain the images requested by your doctor. It is very important that you lie very still. Movement may make your pictures look blurry. The equipment makes noises such as clicks and buzzes while taking the images. Please don’t be alarmed – this is normal. Depending on the type of CT scan your doctor ordered, it may take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour or more to complete.

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What should I expect AFTER my CT scan?

After a CT exam, you can return to your normal activities. If you received contrast material, you may be given special instructions.

Drinks lots of liquids for 24 hours after the scan to help flush the IV contrast out of your body.

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CT Scan Results

All CT scans are read by the Wake Forest University Health Science Radiologists trained in CT imaging and dedicated to the specific body part scanned. They will read your exam within 24 hours and the results will be sent to the doctor that ordered your exam. Your doctor will then discuss the results with you and what they mean in relation to your health.

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Last Updated: 04-09-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.