CT stands for computed tomography. It is also sometimes referred to as a “cat scan.”
A CT scanner is a complex machine that takes multiple X-rays of a part of your body and then combines them into cross-sectional and 3D images. The detailed images can identify various abnormalities within the body and it can also be used to guide minimally-invasive procedures and biopsies.
CT can provide precise images of nearly every area of the body. They are especially beneficial when evaluating the soft tissues within the heart, lungs and other organs within the abdomen and pelvis.
In some cases, a CT examination may require the administration of a contrast material to better visualize your anatomy. The intravenous contrast is iodine-based, and negative reactions are extremely rare. New contrast agents such as Isovue are available for patients who are allergic to iodine.
For examinations of the digestive system, including the small and large intestine, an oral contrast agent called barium may be required. This is to be taken by the patient an hour before their examination.
A CT is a safe and proven testing modality. While there is radiation exposure, the amount the patient receives is extremely low and the value of the results typically outweighs any potential risks.
No special preparation is needed if having a CT examination without a contrast medium at our Lakeland, FL offices. . If you have previous radiology studies and reports related to this exam, please bring them during your visit. You may be asked to remove jewelry and certain clothing items before your scan to ensure the highest quality images.
If an oral contrast is needed, you are required to arrive at least one hour prior to your appointment. We ask that you have no food or beverages of any kind (nothing by mouth) four hours prior to your test. After your test, be sure to drink plenty of liquids to help expel the contrast medium from your body.
Please continue to take your medications as prescribed. If you are pregnant or believe you may be pregnant, please inform your doctor and our staff prior to your test.
You may require lab work within the 30 days leading up to your appointment. Please ask our scheduling department if you require lab work for your test.
What You Can Expect
A CT scanner is a large, round donut-shaped machine. Its shape is designed so that a special X-ray camera can revolve around the body to take images at many different angles. A CT scan can last anywhere between a few minutes and up to 45 minutes, depending on the type of scan you are receiving.
You will be placed on a moving table. The technologist will communicate with you via an intercom while you are moved into and out of the scanner on the table, and advise you to lie still. The technologist may also issue instructions during the scanning process, and you may be required to hold your breath for short periods of time.
If you are receiving an intravenous contrast medium, the IV will be placed by the technologist prior to the scan and removed after the scan. You will be supervised throughout the entire process by the technologist. If you experience any problems during the scan, the technologist will be able to hear you.
The Radiology and Imaging Specialists at Lakeland Regional Health team provides care that is above and beyond other imaging practices. We are here to make you comfortable during your time with us and will always have your comfort as our top priority. If you have any questions about our CT Scan technology, please contact our Lakeland office at (863) 688-2334. We provide CT scan services to patients at Lakeland Regional Health, at our Central Office in Lakeland, FL and our Pablo Campus.