What is a CT scan?

A computerized axial tomography, otherwise known as a CAT or CT scan, is a type of X-ray examination. It combines many X-ray images with the help of a computer to generate a cross-sectional view of the organs and internal structures of the body. A CT scan is used to determine the exact size and location of the area to be treated and its relationship with surrounding tissues. Highly circulated blood vessels and structures can be visualized very accurately by CT scan.

The CT is usually done as an outpatient study that takes about 15 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, there are periods when you must lie very still so that images can be “added” together. In order to enhance the quality and the power of the scan to obtain very accurate images, you may receive a contrast agent. This is an iodinated substance that is injected into a vein during the test. (Be sure to inform your doctor if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish.) ?