Multi-slice Computed Tomography

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What is a multi-slice CT scan?

A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan uses x-rays to quickly create cross-sectional pictures ("slices") of your body. This scan may be used to guide a surgeon to the right area, to identify masses and tumors, or to study blood vessels.

What can I expect?

We'll do everything we can to make you comfortable during your scan. You will be asked to lie on your stomach, back, or side on a table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. Once you are inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you.

Certain CT scans require a special dye, called contrast material, to highlight specific areas and create a clearer image. If your scan requires the contrast, you may receive it through a hand or forearm vein or be asked to drink it.


How will it feel?

If you receive contrast material through a vein, you may feel a slight burning sensation, a metallic taste in the mouth, and a warm flushing of the body. These sensations are normal and usually go away in a few seconds.

During the scan it's important that you lie as still as possible to make sure we get the sharpest images. You may be asked to hold your breath very briefly. Complete scans usually take only a few minutes.

How should I prepare?

  • If contrast material will be used, it's very important to tell the doctor if you have iodine or seafood allergies, or if you have any kidney problems.
  • You may also be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4-6 hours before the test.
  • Take your usual medications unless your doctor says not to. Talk to your doctor if you take any blood thinners that would affect bleeding (Coumadin/Warfarin, Pradaxa).
  • You will be asked to remove jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the scan.


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