Computed Tomography (CT or CAT Scan) is an x-ray technique that allows us to see organs that cannot be seen with conventional x-rays. While a conventional x-ray will show your bones and subtle outlines of other organs, CT images will reveal the bones and organs with a high degree of precision.
A conventional x-ray uses a stationary machine to focus beams of radiation on a specific part of your body, while a CT uses an x-ray generating device that rotates around your body and a powerful computer to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the inside of your body.
Unlike an MRI, CT Scans can be performed if you have a pacemaker. If you are pregnant, or suspect you are, tell your doctor. Your doctor may suggest an alternative exam that doesn’t require radiation, such as an MRI or ultrasound.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you suspect you may be pregnant. Your doctor may postpone the exam, or choose an alternative exam, to reduce the possible risk of exposing your baby to radiation.
Preparation for your CT scan depends on which part of your body will be scanned. Some scans, typically abdominal and pelvic, require a liquid contrast medium prior to your exam. Contrast medium can be taken by mouth or intravenously. You may eat a normal diet and take daily medications, however, depending on the body area being scanned, your doctor may ask you to temporarily modify your diet, take laxatives, enemas, or suppositories.
You may be asked to remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown. You will be asked to remove all metal or electronic objects from your body before the exam, as these objects interfere with the quality of the images.
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