Computed Axial Tomography Scan (CAT)

How it Works

A CT scan, also known as a CAT scan (computed axial tomography) is a diagnostic exam that combines the use of X-rays and computers to produce an image. X-ray beams are passed through the area from different angles. These images are then put together, using computer assistance, to create detailed images of bones, organs and soft tissues. CT is one of the best and fastest tools for examining the chest, abdomen and pelvis because it provides detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of tissue. CT imaging is often the best method for detecting many different cancers, including lung, liver, kidney and pancreatic cancer, since the image allows a physician to confirm the presence of a tumor and measure its size, precise location and the extent of the tumor's involvement with other nearby tissue.

Before Your Procedure

What you need to bring            

Bring your insurance information, personal identification, prescription for the exam and any prior studies & reports for comparison to today’s scan.

How you might prepare

Depending on the exam you are having, you may be asked to drink a barium contrast solution that improves the visibility of the structures within the body. If this is the case you will be required to arrive 90 minutes prior to your appointment time to register and drink the solution. The CT exam is performed 1 hour after you finish drinking the barium solution.

Some tests require an IV contrast agent, while some exams require both IV and oral contrast. If IV contrast is needed, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire, to screen you to ensure that you are not reactive to the IV contrast.

For patients that may have had an iodine or contrast dye reaction you will need to be pre medicated 24 hours prior to your CT study. We suggest you advise your ordering physician about your reaction so they can prescribe you the appropriate medication. This is important for your safety and a requirement to complete your study. Please inform the CT technologist if you think you may be pregnant.         

During Your Procedure

What to expect

Metal objects, including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins, may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.

Women will be asked to remove bras containing metal underwire. You may need to remove any piercings, if possible.

You will be asked to lie down on the CT scan exam table. If your doctor ordered IV contrast for your test, an IV will be started in a vein in your arm then your exam will begin. From this point your exam will only take a few minutes; so if you are anxious or slightly claustrophobic, we can address your concerns.

The setting

The CT scanner is typically a large, box-like machine with a hole, or short tunnel, in the center. The examination table slides into and out of this tunnel. Rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry. The computer work-station that processes the imaging information is located in a separate control room, where the technologist operates the scanner and monitors your examination in direct sight contact and with the ability to hear and talk to you with the use of a speaker and microphone. When the contrast injection begins you can expect to feel a warm, flushing sensation that lasts one to two minutes as the contrast flows from your arm throughout your body.

What Happens After Your Scan

Once your scan has been completed you may leave and resume your normal activities. You may be asked to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the contrast agents from your body. Persons with diabetes who are taking Metformin (some of the brand names include Glucophage®, Glucovance®, or Metaglip®) must STOP the medication on the day of the exam and 48 hours after receiving intravenous contrast. The combination of the drug with the Iodine contrast material that is used for CT scans could cause side effects. Be certain to discuss this with your physician.

When to Expect Results

You can expect your physician to receive a written report within 3 to 5 working days.

ACR Accreditation

Insist that any facility providing your medical imaging care be accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR accreditation ensures that the physicians supervising and interpreting your medical imaging meet stringent education and training standards. HUMC Radiology’s ACR accreditation also signifies that the imaging equipment is surveyed regularly by qualified medical physicists to ensure that it is functioning properly, and that the technologists administering the tests are certified.

About Our Staff and Equipment

The equipment of HUMC Radiology department is maintained in excellent condition. All of our equipment meets federal government standards.

Our radiology center is operated by radiologists who are certified by the American Board of Radiology. Our technologists are licensed by the State of New Jersey and are certified by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. With top-tier certifications and licenses given to its staff, our Radiology Department is able to provide quality services to patients in Northern New Jersey and beyond.

HUMC: A Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as the first-ever Diagnostic Imaging Centers of Excellence Award recipient. This elite distinction recognizes HUMC’s excellence in diagnostic imaging. The award was presented to Harry Agress Jr., M.D., FACR, Chairman Emeritus, Department of Radiology and director of the PET/CT Center and Division of Nuclear Medicine, during ACR’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. As one of only two centers nationwide to receive this designation, Hackensack UMC stands as one of the most reputable medical centers in New Jersey and the greater northeastern region.

Survey and Contact Information

You may receive a survey by mail. We are asking for feedback on how we can improve our services and care. Please take a few minutes to reply. We would appreciate your input in order to provide the highest quality of care. 

If you have any questions about any procedures, please call our Radiology Department at 551-996-2245.

 


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