CT Scan (General)
(Computed Tomography Scan; Computed Axial Tomography; CAT Scan)
|CT Scan of the Head|
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Reasons for test
- Looking for bleeding inside the body, especially the in the skull.
- Studying the chest and abdomen
- Determining the size and location of a tumor
- Diagnosing skeletal problems
- Diagnosing blood vessel diseases
- Planning radiation treatments for cancer
- Guiding biopsies and other tests
- Planning surgery
- Identifying injuries from trauma
- Allergic reaction to contrast material
- Damage to the kidney from contrast material
- Allergies (if you are given a contrast dye during the test)
- Kidney problems (if you are given a contrast dye during the test)
What to Expect
Prior to Test
Before the test, your doctor will likely ask about:
- Your medical history
- Medications you take
- Whether you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- Before your test, follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any changes to your medications or diet.
At the healthcare facility:
- A healthcare professional will explain the test and answer any questions you may have.
- You will remove your clothes and put on a gown or robe.
- You will remove all jewelry, hair clips, dentures, and other objects that could show on the x-rays and make the images hard to read.
- If your CT scan includes oral contrast material, you will need to drink the contrast material at this time.
Description of the Test
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
- Symptoms of allergic reaction, such as hives, itching, nausea, swollen or itchy eyes, tight throat, or difficulty breathing
- Any other concerns
Radiological Society of North America http://www.radiologyinfo.org
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov
Canadian Association of Radiologists http://www.car.ca
Canadian Radiation Protection Association http://www.crpa-acrp.ca
Computed tomography (CT)—body. Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodyct&bhcp=1. Updated September 23, 2014. Accessed January 26, 2015.
Radiation-emitting products: computed tomography (CT). US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/MedicalImaging/MedicalX-Rays/ucm115317.htm. Updated January 23, 2014. Accessed January 26, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -