How To Prepare
Before the CT scan, tell your doctor
- Are or might be pregnant.
- Are allergic to any medicines, including iodine
- Have a heart condition, such as
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
- Have a medical device, such as a pacemaker or an
- Have had
- Have had an X-ray test using barium
contrast material (such as a
barium enema) or have taken a medicine that contains
bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) in the past 4 days. Barium and bismuth show up
on X-ray films and make it hard to see the picture clearly.
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.
Arrange for someone to take you home in case you get a
medicine to help you relax (sedative) for the test.
If you have a
CT scan of your belly, you may be asked to not eat any solid foods starting the
night before your scan. For a CT scan of the belly, you may drink contrast
material. For some CT scans, you may need a laxative or an
enema before the test.
Talk to your
doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks,
how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the
importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A CT scan is usually done by a
radiology technologist. The pictures are usually read
radiologist, who writes the report. Other doctors also may review a CT scan.
may need to take off any jewelry. You will need to take off all or most of your
clothes, depending on which area is studied. You may be able to wear your
underwear for some scans. You will be given a gown to use during the
During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to
the CT scanner.
table slides into the round opening of the scanner, and the scanner moves
around your body. The table will move while the scanner takes pictures. You may
hear a click or buzz as the table and scanner move. It is very important to lie
still during the test.
During the test, you may be alone in the
scanning room. But the technologist will watch you through a window. You
will be able to talk to the technologist through a two-way intercom.
The test will take about 30 to 60 minutes. Most of this time is spent getting ready for the scan. The actual scan only takes a few seconds.