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CT FAQs

Is a CT safe?

While the patient is exposed to radiation from x-rays, the amount of exposure is considerably less than that of a normal x-ray. In fact, the amount of radiation received from a CT of the head and brain is about the same as the amount of natural radiation exposure received in the environment during a year.


How long will the exam take?

The length of time varies with the type of study. Some can be performed in less than five minutes; others can take thirty minutes or longer. The average length of time is between fifteen and twenty minutes.


When and why is “contrast” used?


Whether or not you need a contrasting liquid or injection depends on the type of study your physician has ordered. A contrasting agent containing iodine, often called “dye,” helps the radiologist to see more definition of the tissues and to visualize the blood supply to internal organs. The contrasting agent can be administered by our staff intravenously or as a drink that you consume contrast one to two hours before the exam.

The iodine-containing “dyes” are generally quite safe. Our staff will screen your medical history to determine if there is any risk of adverse reactions to the contrasting agent.
 

How does a CT scan work?

The patient lies comfortably still on a flat padded table, which moves steadily through the center of a donut-shaped x-ray machine. X-ray beams from a number of positions are aimed at the area being studied. A special detector measures the amount of absorbed radiation. This data is transformed by a computer into a digital image, displayed as a cross-section of the x-rayed area on a computer screen.


Can I drive home after the CT?

CT requires no sedation and therefore you will be able to drive immediately after the exam, even if you received a contrasting agent.


How long does it take for my physician to get the results of the examination?

The radiologist will review and interpret your CT examination upon completion. Within 24 hours, your physician will have a written report and copies of the film for visual inspection of the findings. If requested by your physicians, results may be reported sooner by telephone or fax.

How do I schedule a CT scan?

Your doctor will decide if an CT is needed to help diagnose your symptoms. The doctor’s staff or you can schedule an appointment. We will verify your health insurance coverage and obtain pre-certification with your health insurance carrier if necessary. If you do not have health insurance, payment is expected at the time of service.