Computed Tomography (CT) is an X-ray technique that uses a special scanner and computer to create cross-sectional images of parts of your body. Our 64 slice, high definition CT scanner operates faster, providing 64 slices, or pictures, of the body image per rotation. Each rotation takes only 0.33 seconds and compiles them into a single picture to show tiny structures and their pathologies, such as the inner ear, with clarity and definition. The fast rotation allows technicians to scan more area of the body, faster – a critical component in trauma cases.
All CT scanners at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center feature Adaptive Dose Shield technology, which significantly reduces the amount of radiation received by patients. The personalized dose protection platform uses a tube design to move shields into place that narrow the imaging field and allow for an average of 25 percent less radiation per patient, per procedure. Our CT imaging unit also features a larger bore, or hub where the patient is placed during the scan, and allows technicians to provide high quality images of heavier patients who may have had difficulty with previous imaging units.
Additional benefits of our 64 slice HD CT scanner include an Adaptive Cardiac Sequence feature that provides reliable, visually outstanding cardiac imaging, making even the smallest coronary vessels appear sharper. It allows physicians to eliminate more invasive diagnostic procedures, such as cardiac catheterizations. With this technology, patients can now undergo coronary CT angiographies of the heart, neck, pelvis, head, and abdominal arteries.
How Do I Prepare for My CT Scan?
Before the procedure, you may be given either an oral or intravenous contrast media (dye) that highlights the area being scanned.
For CT Scans of the Abdomen/Pelvis, Oral Contrast is Required:
- Please take one bottle of Redi Cat after your evening meal the night before the CT Scan is scheduled.
- Also take one bottle of Redi Cat the morning of your exam, one half-hour prior to your appointment time.
It is important that the entire amount of Redi Cat be taken, to insure your test is complete. Medications may be taken with a clear liquid diet until the time of your appointment.
For CT Scans Requiring Intravenous (IV) Contrast:
- It is important to notify the technologist or physician if you have any allergies to iodine, shellfish, or previous IV injection.
- Intravenous dye may cause warm sensations throughout your body, as well as a dry, bitter taste. These sensations last between 5 and 10 seconds, and disappear quickly.
If you have an allergy to iodine, or have had an allergic reaction to a previous contrast (dye) exam, please tell your physician before you have this exam.
Any woman who is pregnant, or suspects she may be pregnant, should let her physician know before scheduling this exam.
What Can I Expect During The Exam?
A radiologic technologist, who is trained in the use of this specialized equipment, will then assist you onto the scanner table that will be moved to perfectly align the portion of your head or body into the scanner’s opening. After each image is taken, the table will advance slightly to scan the next portion.
As you are moved through the scanner, relax and remain as still as possible. If a scan of your chest or abdomen is being done, breathing instructions will be given to you – this is to avoid any blurring of the image created by your breathing movements. The technologist will tell you when to hold your breath, and when you may breathe normally.
How Long Will My CT Scan Take?
The length of your CT exam depends on your needs. An exam of the head or spine averages 15 minutes. An exam of the abdomen or pelvis averages 30 minutes.
Immediately after the exam, you may resume regular diet and medication unless your physician has advised you otherwise. If you received intravenous contrast media, you need to increase your intake of fluids the rest of the day.
When Can You Expect Results?
You can expect results relatively quickly at Albemarle Hospital. A radiologist will review your CT scan then report the results to your physician, who will discuss the findings with you.