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Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Computed Tomography (CT) scan is an imaging technique that uses a combination of a special X-ray machine and a computer to obtain cross-sectional images of the internal structures of the body.

CT-scan Procedure

The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and involves the following steps:

  • You will wear a hospital gown and lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner.
  • You may need to swallow contrast preparation or have an IV line started in your arm if the CT scan involves contrast dye. Inform your technician if you have or feel any allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itching.
  • Speakers inside the scanner enable you to communicate with the technician.
  • The table will slide into a large donut-shaped machine which takes images while moving around specific parts of your body, yielding several images or “slices” from different angles. It is normal to hear loud, clicking sounds. A computer will transform the slices into 3-dimensional images for your doctor to view.
  • You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during image capturing.
  • The IV line is disconnected and you are removed from the scanner once the procedure is completed.

Related Topics

  • Columbia University Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine
  • NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital
  • University of Michigan
  • Association of Academic Physiatrists