Test Details & Preparation
A CT scan - also called computerized tomography or just CT - combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. The resulting images can be compared to a loaf of sliced bread. Your doctor will be able to look at each of these slices individually or perform additional visualization to make 3-D images. CT scan images provide much more information than do plain X-rays.
A CT scan is particularly well suited to quickly examine people who may have internal injuries from car accidents or other types of trauma. A CT scan can also visualize the brain and - with the help of injected contrast material - check for blockages or other problems in your blood vessels.
A contrast material is needed for some CT scans, to help highlight the areas of your body being examined. The contrast material blocks X-rays and appears white on images, which can help emphasize blood vessels, bowel or other structures.
Contrast material can enter your body in a variety of ways Oral- If your oesophagus or stomach is being scanned, you may need to swallow a drink that contains contrast material. This drink may taste unpleasant and cause diarrhoea Injection- Contrast agents can be injected into an intravenous line, to help view your gallbladder, urinary tract, liver or blood vessels. You may experience a feeling of warmth during the injection, or a metallic taste in your mouth.
CT scans are painless and, with newer machines, typically take only a few minutes to complete. After the exam you can return to your normal routine. If you were given a contrast material, your doctor, a nurse or the CT technologist performing the scan may give you special instructions.
CT images are saved digitally on computers. Digital images can be viewed on-screen within minutes. A radiologist typically views and interprets the results and sends a report to your doctor, who then explains the results to you. In an emergency, your X-ray results can be made available to your doctor in minutes.