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Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body

Why It Is Done

CT scans are used to study areas of the body and the arms or legs.

Other uses for a CT scan

A CT scan may be used to make sure a procedure is done correctly. For example, the doctor may use CT to guide a needle during a tissue biopsy or to guide the proper placement of a needle to drain an abscess.

For people with cancer, a CT scan can help determine how much the cancer has spread. This is called staging the cancer.

How To Prepare

Before the CT scan, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Are allergic to any medicines, including iodine dyes.
  • Have a heart condition, such as heart failure.
  • Have diabetes or take metformin (Glucophage) for your diabetes. You may have to adjust your medicine for a day before and after the test.
  • Have had kidney problems.
  • Have asthma.
  • Have had multiple myeloma.
  • Have had an X-ray test using barium contrast material (such as a barium enema) in the past 4 days. Barium shows up on X-ray films and makes it hard to see the picture clearly.
  • Become very nervous in small spaces. You need to lie still inside the CT scanner, so you may need a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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