CT (Computed Tomography)
Vancouver Radiologists, P.C. is proud to be a regional leader in CT services, accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Our staff radiologists and technologists have achieved the highest standard of expertise through national certifications and specialties. Among our radiologists, you will find fellowship-trained and board-certified physicians and our CT technologists are certified members of the American Registered Radiological Technologists (ARRT) with a specialty in CT.
What is CT?
Our CT equipment features state-of-the-art multi-slice spiral CT scanners manufactured by either GE Medical or Siemens Medical systems. Both scanners produce superior quality CT images and very fast scanning speeds resulting in a more comfortable exam for our patients. Our low dose equipment limits the radiation exposure during each exam, minimizing the risk to our patients and staff. Our scanners offer high-resolution imaging, perfect for advanced applications such as CT Angiography, CT Pulmonary Angiography, tumor imaging, orthopedic exams (in the presence of metallic hardware), CT Urography, as well as most routine CT imaging studies.
Computerized Tomography (CT or “CAT” scan) is a safe, painless, and quick procedure used to obtain detailed images of the inside of the body. A CT scanner resembles a giant doughnut. As your body passes through the “hole” of the doughnut, the scanner takes specialized x-ray images which are then processed by computers to generate and display detailed cross-sectional pictures.
All CT exams require an order from your physician and most require pre-authorization from your insurance provider. A co-pay and/or deductible may apply. Please check with your health insurance provider regarding your specific plan benefits.
If a CT is recommended, you will receive a call from our office to provide additional information, and to answer any questions you may have a day or two before your procedure. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your procedure in order to complete the necessary paperwork, unless told otherwise.
Be sure to tell a member of the healthcare team if you:
- are pregnant or think you may be
If your exam requires IV contrast, please tell a member of the healthcare team if you:
- have any known allergies, including a previous reaction to x-ray contrast
- have any medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease and/or kidney issues
- are diabetic, and take metformin /Glucophage
- are breastfeeding, as it is optional to discontinue for 24 hours after the procedure
For CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis, you may be instructed to drink 2 or more 16-ounce glasses of a flavored contrast medium which will highlight the digestive tract on the CT images. If you are allergic to intravenous (IV) contrast, you should be able to drink the liquid contrast without a problem.
If you are receiving IV contrast, please make sure that you drink more fluids than usual the day before the procedure, such as water, juice, or herbal teas to ensure you are well hydrated. You should not eat solids for 4 hours prior to the scheduled exam time; clear liquids are okay (water, fruit juice without pulp, clear soup, but no caffeine) until 2 hours prior to the exam.
During a CT
To be as comfortable as possible during the CT scan, a two-piece, loose-fitting outfit should be worn. Otherwise, you may be asked to change into scrubs in place of your clothing.
A technologist will review your clinical history prior to an examination. Depending on the type of CT procedure, you may receive an intravenous (IV) injection of contrast medium (x-ray dye) that improves the clarity of scanned images. If your exam requires contrast media, the first step of the procedure will be the placement of an intravenous access (IV) device for the use of an iodinated contrast material that is administered during the procedure. Vancouver Radiologists uses only the safest type of IV contrast medium available and the technologist is able to observe and monitor you throughout the entire procedure. Once the IV is in place, you will be positioned on the table using pillows, sponges, and cushions making sure that you are as secure and comfortable as possible.
Please plan on 45 minutes from the time of check-in to the completion of the procedure. An entire CT exam typically takes approximately 10-20 minutes (actual scanning time is often less than 1 minute); however, some examinations may take longer. During the contrast media injection, the contrast material will be administered through your IV and you may feel a warm sensation and may have a metallic taste in your mouth. This is normal, and should not linger.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your exam, please ask your technologist. The technologist will ensure the images taken are complete and accurate before you leave the clinic; however please note, the technologist does not interpret the images.
After a CT
Any contrast material given during the procedure will pass naturally through your body, usually within one day. It is not uncommon if you had an oral contrast to experience gas and loose stools. Drink plenty of water for at least 24 hours post procedure. You may resume your normal activity and diet unless told otherwise.
Our radiologist will review and interpret your images and send your results to your healthcare provider to discuss with you. If you have not been contacted with results within 48 hours, please contact your healthcare provider. As always, if you have questions or concerns at any time, please contact us and ask to speak to one of our Patient Navigators at (360)254-4914.