Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography (CT) scanning pairs traditional x-ray technology with a computer to create a detailed image of a person's body in a very short amount of time.

A typical CT machine is a large, box-like structure with an x-ray tunnel through it. A moveable exam table moves the patient through the tunnel during the CT scan. Multiple x-rays are sent through the body to receivers in the tunnel. A computer processes the x-ray messages and creates a detailed and more complete image of the inside of the body than can be generated by conventional x-ray. CT has many benefits over other forms of imaging; it is quick, accurate, less sensitive to movement, and can be performed instead of an MRI on individuals who cannot, for medical reasons, have MRI.

How to Prepare for your Visit


Some types of CT exams require that you not eat or drink for several hours prior to your appointment. Others have no such requirement, so check with your doctor or with us prior to your visit for special instructions. Metal objects such as jewelry, eyeglasses, removable dental work and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be removed prior to your exam.


You will be asked to lie on the movable examination table of the CT machine. Bolsters or straps may be used to help you maintain the correct position for the scan. The radiology technician will be monitoring your scan from a computer right outside the CT room. You will be able to hear and speak with the technician at all times during the scan. Once you are positioned, the table will move once quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting point for the scan. Next, the table will move slowly through the scanner as the real imaging occurs. You may be asked to hold your breath and to be as still as possible for a few seconds. You may see lights from the machine, which are used to ensure proper positioning, and you may hear some clicking and whirring sounds as the CT scanner revolves around your body. If contrast material is required for your CT exam, it may come in pill form or intravenous (IV). If IV contrast is used, a physician will be on site to oversee the process. Most CT scans are completed within 30 minutes.

For your safety, and to expedite your visit, please print and complete the appropriate patient forms prior to your visit.