CT or computerized tomography scan and is sometimes referred to as a CAT scan. In this procedure, a thin x-ray beam is rotated around the area of the body to be examined. The computer is able to generate cross-sectional or sliced images of the area of interest. CT scans are very detailed and are an excellent source of information for the physician.
- Where is CT Scanning Available?
MultiCare Medical Imaging offers CT scanning at Allenmore Hospital, Covington MultiCare Clinic, Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, MultiCare Auburn Health Center, MultiCare Auburn Medical Center, Auburn Diagnostic Imaging Services, MultiCare Gig Harbor Medical Park and Tacoma General and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.
- Why is it Done?
- CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissue—lung, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels—with great clarity. This makes diagnosing problems, such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, infection, trauma, muscle and bone disorders, much easier.
- What Can I Expect During the CT Scan?
- Before your exam, a technologist will review your medical and allergy history, and answer any questions about the exam you might have. Because CT involves X-ray, please notify your technologist if you think you might be pregnant.
Please wear comfortable, loose clothing for your scan. You may be asked to change into a gown before your exam to avoid possible interference from any metal in your clothing.
Some CT exams involve an intravenous (IV) contrast injection (usually placed in the arm) to enhance the results of the study. If your exam includes contrast, please tell the technologist if any of the following questions apply to you:
- Do you have allergies to latex or iodine?
- Have you had previous reactions to contrast agents?
- Do you have kidney problems?
- Are you currently taking diabetic medication(s), or any of the medications on this list?
- Are you pregnant or think you may be?
- Have you had anything to eat or drink before your exam?
The technologist will be just outside of the exam room during the procedure, at a viewing window. You will never be left alone. You’ll be given directions through an intercom, telling you when to hold your breath and when to breathe so that your study gets the best results.
- How Do I Prepare for My CT Scan?
For your safety and the safety of your children please make arrangements for someone to care for your children during your scheduled appointment time. If you are unable to find care for them please call and reschedule your appointment.
Arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam to complete necessary paperwork.
If your procedure includes contrast, please bring a list of any medications you are currently taking. You will also need to have GFR creatine lab work completed no more than eight weeks before your exam. The lab results will allow our radiologists to make sure that it is safe to use contrast media in your study. Please contact your health care provider if you have any questions about the required lab work.
Bring any (x-rays) imaging studies related to your current problem from other facilities with you. Please let us know if you need help obtaining the films.
Ask for an interpreter if you are not proficient in English. MultiCare will provide an interpreter specialized in medical terminology for patients who have trouble understanding English. Unfortunately, family members of patients can not be interpreters.
If you have been asked to take oral contrast follow the instructions given to you with your contrast. There is no charge for this oral contrast, if your doctor has not already provided it for you (not all offices have this medication on hand), and you may receive it one of three ways:
- OPTION 1: At the time of scheduling, you may have the scheduler arrange to have the prescription available for you to pick up at a MultiCare outpatient pharmacy of your choosing.
- OPTION 2: You may arrive 2 hours early for your appointment and have your oral contrast administered there. This can only be done for exams that are scheduled after 10:00am.
- OPTION 3: If your exam is scheduled out further than a week, allowing 3 - 4 business days for mailing, our Central Scheduling line can arrange for the oral contrast to be mailed directly to you. Please contact Central Scheduling at 253-792-6220 or toll free 866-268-7223.
- How Long Will it Take?
- Please allow 30 to 45 minutes for your exam, although the scan itself will only take 5 to 15 minutes.
- What Happens After the Exam?
- When your exam is completed, you may be asked to wait until the images are reviewed to determine if more images are needed. If a contrast material - whether oral or injected - was used during your exam, it is important that you drink plenty of liquid for 24-48 hours after your procedure.
- Getting Your Results
- A radiologist, a physician experienced in reading the images from CT and other radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report with his or her interpretation to your health care provider.