What to Expect

What should I expect if I am having a CT scan?

  • Exams are typically completed in 5 to 15 minutes once in the CT suite, so please do not leave the radiology waiting area after you have checked in for your procedure
  • A CT is not a full-body tube like MRI, and in most cases you will be able to see outside of the machine during your exam
  • Exams are conducted only by registered CT technologists that have been certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists for their advanced specialization in training in computed tomography.
  • In some cases, oral contrast may be ordered by your physician for your exam.

What should I expect if I am having a contrast exam?

These exams, when ordered by your physician, utilize an intravenous injection of iodine contrast media. An IV will be established before your scan.

  • It is OK to have something light to eat prior to your appointment, especially if you are diabetic
  • Drink plenty of fluids to make obtaining an IV easier for the technologist
  • An actual IV will be put into a vein in your upper arm or hand, we are not able to use butterfly needles due to the pressure that the injections are done at
  • You will be asked to lay down on a narrow exam table, in most cases your arms will be brought above your head and a safety strap can be provided for your comfort
  • The injector tubing will be connected to the IV in your arm/hand
  • Up to two preliminary images are taken for planning purposes
  • The technologist will advise you of the start of the injection
  • You may feel a warm sensation throughout your body, a metallic taste in your mouth or the sensation you are urinating briefly
  • These are normal sensations and should pass quickly
  • Images are acquired after a brief delay to allow for the contrast to go through your system.
  • The IV will be removed promptly after your exam
  • Be sure to stay hydrated to allow the contrast solution to pass through your system and out in your urine. It is colorless and will not have any effect on activities planned after the study is completed.
  • A report is sent to the ordering provider in a couple of days

What should I expect if I am having a non-contrast exam?

These exams, when ordered by your physician, do not use any intravenous contrast and are typically very fast to complete.

  • You will asked to lay down on the narrow exam table of the CT scanner, your arms will be raised above your head in most cases, and a safety strap can be provided for your comfort
  • Up to two preliminary images are taken for planning purposes
  • There will be breathing instructions given prior to image acquisition as needed per exam
  • These exams typically take 5 minutes or less once in the CT suite 

If you have specific questions, please contact the Medical Imaging or your physician directly.

If you will be having a CT with contrast:

  • There are no medication restrictions, so please continue with your medications prior to your CT appointment
  • 4 hours prior to your appointment, please do not eat anything heavy. A light snack is acceptable
  • Drink plenty of fluids, prior to your appointment so that you are well hydrated for the IV.

After your CT with contrast:

  • Please continue to drink plenty of fluids and stay well hydrated for the next 48 hours to help the contrast pass through your system.
  • The contrast will not discolor your urine output.
  • If your are currently diabetic and are taking Glucophage or Metformin, the technologist will speak to you about withholding it for 48 hours pending another creatinine test and direction by your physician to resume taking it again.

If you will be having a non-contrast CT exam:

  • There are no restrictions prior to your appointment