Computed Tomography (CT) is a fast diagnostic exam used to obtain detailed visual information on just about any body organ - the liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs and heart. The latest generation of CT, a multi-slice CT scan, is a sophisticated X-ray that produces a scan 100 times more sensitive than conventional X-rays. For patients, this powerful imaging equipment can mean increasing the potential for faster and less invasive diagnostic procedures plus a host of other benefits:
- Faster, more comfortable scans
- Improved image clarity for a more accurate diagnosis
- More scans per rotation for better image quality without an increase in X-ray dose
- The industry’s finest CT resolution for detailed images of even the smallest structures
Staying on the cutting-edge of CT technology enables us to provide your physician with superior images for a more accurate diagnosis, using the lowest radiation dose possible. A faster, more accurate diagnosis for you means a more complete recovery and better health.
CT Scan Preparation
How do I prepare for the exam?
- Any special instructions will be provided at the time you schedule your exam. You will be notified if your exam requires you to consume an oral contrast agent in advance of your procedure
- Notify a BayCare Imaging Professional if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- If instructed, bring prior X-rays or scans with you to your exam.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment to complete check-in before your scheduled exam time.
What should I expect during the exam?
- You will lie on a cushioned table. Once you are comfortably positioned, the tabletop will move through a gantry (shaped like a big donut), which houses the X-ray tube and a set of detectors.
- In some cases, a device to hold part of your body in place is used to ensure accurate alignment.
- During the exam, multiple, low-dose X-rays will pass through your body at different angles. Images are acquired by detectors that measure the X-rays as they pass through your body. The computer processes this information to form an image that the radiologist will review and interpret.
- Some CT studies require a contrast material to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. In this instance, you will receive an IV in your hand or arm before the exam begins. Once the contrast is injected, you may feel a warm, flushed sensation and experience a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for about two minutes.
- Depending on the type of exam, your CT scan may take 10-30 minutes.
What happens after the exam?
- A radiologist who specializes in the specific area of the body that was examined will review your images.
- The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.
- Your doctor will consider this information in context of your overall care and talk with you about the results
Types of CT Scans
Unlike conventional X-rays, CT scans have the ability to show complex brain structures and are a valuable tool in the detection of tumors, blood clots, enlarged ventricles and other brain disorders. CT scans complement MRIs in evaluating the brain and spine. This is especially helpful for patients with acute neurological problems or other trauma.
CT scans provide excellent visualizations of joints and the underlying bone anatomy, allowing for both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional evaluation. A CT scan can also complement an MRI in evaluating fractures associated with joint injuries.
Virtual colonoscopy uses a multi-slice, spiral CT scan of the abdomen, which allows us to evaluate your colon for polyps and early colon cancer by creating computer images similar to those seen by conventional colonoscopy. Also, the exam preparation is easier for patients and the procedure is as sensitive in the detection of colon cancer as traditional colonoscopy. The exam time is also quicker; virtual colonoscopy typically takes 20 minutes.
Coronary CT Angiogram
Coronary CT angiogram is a minimally invasive procedure designed to view both the calcified and non-calcified plaque in your coronary arteries. This exam provides an accurate alternative to traditional coronary angiogram without the invasiveness and risk.
To make an appointment, please call:
Hillsborough County: (813) 635-3610
Pinellas/Pasco Counties: (727) 461-8555