A CT Scanner is a device that builds a 3D cross-section image of a particular part or area of the body and is displayed on the technician's screen. A traditional X-ray uses a single radiation beam to capture a flat image. The CT scanner uses an x-ray detector, but it emits a series of beams as it moves in a circle around your body. This creates a very detailed image, including density of the tissues inside an organ.
In some cases, a contrast dye is used to highlight a specific part of the body or an organ. Typically a barium substance is administered by ingestion, IV fluids, or enema placement. The barium appears white as it travels through the desired location. Your doctor or radiologist will advise you in advance if a test including barium is needed.
What to Expect
A board-certified technologist will perform your exam. After explaining the exam to you, you will be asked to lie down on the scan table. The table will position you in the scanner to best access the area to be imaged. It is common for the table to move as the scanning is taking place. For this reason it is important that you stay very still during the exam.
You will be in full view of the tech during your entire procedure. They will be in an adjoining room during the scan. The CT room is equipped with a two way intercom so you are in communication with the tech at all times.
Once the images are obtained, the radiologist will be notified. Radiology reports will be provided to your attending provider - whether in the Emergency Room or a doctor's office.