At the Rush, our staff uses computed tomography, or CT, to produce a series of detailed images of the human body to be studied. The CT is a painless, fast scan that uses both special X-ray equipment and computers to produce images that can often provide more detailed information than regular X-rays.

What does a CT do?
A CT scan can produce detailed images of organs, bones, soft tissues, and blood vessels. CT scans are used to diagnose conditions such as cancer, musculoskeletal disease, and trauma to certain areas of the body. A small dose of radiation is used during the CT scan. However, the results of a CT can eliminate the need for surgical biopsies and exploratory surgery, making this dose of radiation small in comparison to the benefits of a more accurate diagnosis.

During the Exam
If you are, or suspect you might be pregnant, let your physician, nurse or technologist know immediately.

After changing into a gown, you will be asked to lie on the examining table, usually on your back. The movable table will be raised, lowered, and moved in and out of the scanner opening. The area of your body being examined will remain inside the scanner. It is very important that you remain still when the images are being taken, so that the pictures are clear. An intercom will permit you to communicate with the technologist.

Depending upon what type CT exam you are to receive, you may be asked to drink a contrast liquid prior to your test. You may also receive an IV injection of contrast material into your arm.

You will hear a variety of humming, clicking, and other machine like noises during the examination. While your CT scan is being checked for clarity, you may be asked to wait. If additional images are needed, they will be taken at this time.

After the Exam
Your CT will be reviewed by the radiologist, who will pass the results on to your physician. Your doctor, in turn, will discuss the results with you. He/she may recommend further testing, or suggest a treatment plan for your condition. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your test results. If you have further questions, please feel free to ask your physician.