Computed Tomography (CT)
A computed tomography (CT) scan produces incredibly detailed, cross-sectional images of your body for a more accurate assessment of your internal tissues and organs. The procedure uses computer processing to generate 3-D (three-dimensional) images from X-rays taken in a helical (spiral) fashion around your body. These individual cross-sectional images are often referred to as “slices” and are particularly useful when examining soft tissue and blood vessels. Occasionally, iodinated contrast (X-ray dye) is used to enhance image detail. Our radiologist will determine if the contrast is needed; if so, it will be injected intravenously through the arm.
A CT scan helps our radiologists diagnose a wide range of abnormalities. Insight Medical Imaging performs CT scans to study the abdomen, brain, spine, chest, pelvis, kidneys, lungs, bones, soft tissue, and more.
CT is an excellent option for patients who do not qualify for MRI scans because they have certain pacemakers or aneurysm clips or a metal implant in their body that is not safe under specific magnetic exposure.
Computed tomography is also used to assess cancer development. More specifically, computed tomography scans are frequently ordered to examine tumour shape, size, location, and nearby organs and to evaluate the impact of treatment methods such as chemotherapy.
Insight Medical Imaging also provides screening CT scans in addition to our diagnostic scans. These preventative imaging scans examine your heart, circulatory system, lungs, and colon for early detection of diseases such as cancer before they become clinically apparent.
What To Expect During A CT Scan
Before the exam, you may be given a gown or scrubs to change into, depending on the body part under examination. A technologist will take you into our CT room and position you on the bed for your scan.
Our 64-slice Canon scanner is very quick; most scans take less than 30 minutes. More complex exams, such as whole-body CTs, can take approximately 60 minutes.
If our radiologist decides contrast is required, it will be injected intravenously through your arm during the exam. You may feel a warming sensation from the contrast.
Very rarely, iodinated contrast can cause an allergic reaction, most commonly resulting in hives or a rash. Before your computed tomography exam, please let your technologist know if you have an iodine allergy.
Some of our screening scans, such as virtual colonoscopy, coronary calcium scoring, coronary CT angiography, and lung CT scans, will have slightly different procedures and preparation. If you have any questions about CT imaging, you can reach out to one of our patient care coordinators or contact our team today.
- It is crucial that you are not pregnant, as the scanner emits ionizing radiation.
- Please let our team know if you are breastfeeding, as this will influence the administration of contrast.
- At the time of booking, tell us if you are taking Glucophage (Metformin), are diabetic, or have experienced previous renal failure, myeloma, pheochromocytoma, or allergies to iodine compounds.
- Note that CT exams performed outside of the hospital are a private service and costs are not reimbursed by Alberta Health Services.
Computed Tomography FAQs
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to produce incredibly detailed, cross-sectional images of your body for a more accurate assessment of your internal tissues and organs. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses radiology to form pictures of areas inside the body. CT is an excellent option for patients who do not qualify for MRI scans because they have certain pacemakers or aneurysm clips or a metal implant in their body that is not safe under specific magnetic exposure.
No, a CT scan does not hurt. If a dye is used, you may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is started. The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. The experts at Insight Medical Imaging work to make you feel as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.
CT scans do not take very long and can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes. The time is dependent on the specific area of the body being scanned, and the type of dye used- it often takes more time to get one into position when constraint dye is used. Our specialists at Insight Medical Imaging walk you through the whole process.
Generally, you do not need to fast prior to a CT scan. Your doctor will provide you with any special instructions ahead of time so as to relieve any questions. Additionally, specific exam preparation instructions will be sent to you after booking our exam with Insight.
No, since CT uses x-rays to acquire the images, only the person having the exam is in the room during imaging. Any friends, family, or acquaintances are free to wait outside due to the restrictions put in place during the pandemic. Our technicians, however, will be close by.
Yes, you are free to talk during the course of the CT scan. If you have any questions, or simply wish to pass the time, our technicians will be right there. However, it is very important to stay very still so as to capture the image correctly.
Planning your next appointment? Learn more about Computed Tomography exam preparation and get directions to our CT clinic.