CT ScanHope Imaging Center - Vero Beach, FL
What is a CT Scan?
A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is a painless procedure used to obtain cross-sectional “sliced” images of the body. The scan combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. The images are then viewed on a monitor.
Depending on your physician’s request, you may receive a “contrast” material by mouth and/or IV. This “contrast” does exactly as it says: it helps provide greater contrast and information so we can better read the image. During the scan, you will lie down on a CT table. The table moves through the CT scanner opening while obtaining images. The CT procedure can take from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on what type of study your doctor orders
Why a CT Scan?
A CT scan can be used for most parts of the body. It is a useful tool for isolating the location of a tumor, infection or blood clot and can detect internal injuries and internal bleeding. A CT can also detect and monitor diseases and conditions, including lung nodules, liver masses, cancer and other diseases. These are just a few reasons for a CT; there are many other uses.
Preparing for a CT Scan
Unless otherwise indicated, do not eat or drink anything but water four hours prior to your study. We encourage drinking water prior to your exam. Some patients may be asked to drink oral contrast before their study, which enhances the images. Typically, we ask patients to arrive one hour in advance to drink oral contrast; however some patients may receive oral contrast in advance with instructions specific to their study. In some cases, no oral contrast may be necessary.
- If drinking contrast, please arrive one hour and 15 minutes prior to your exam time.
- If your study does not require contrast, please arrive 15-30 minutes prior to your exam.
Some studies require different preparations. Please be sure to review the details for your particular study.
CT Scan Safety
Please notify our scheduling department and technologists if:
- You are pregnant
- You have severe allergies, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to X-ray dye or iodine.
- You have any medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes.
- You have a history of renal failure, liver or kidney transplant.
- You are diabetic. Diabetic patients should discontinue use of Metformin containing drugs the day of the exam and 48 hours after the procedure.
CT Scan Results
A highly specialized radiologist will interpret your images and prepare a diagnostic report for your physician. If the examination was ordered “stat” your physician will be notified the same day. If the examination was routine, the results are provided to your physician within 48 hours. Your physician will determine how the radiologists’ report can be used to develop a treatment plan and speak with you about your results.
Types of CT Scans
At Hope Imaging in Vero Beach, we offer an extensive selection of CT scans to cater to the needs of the entire population. Here are a few of our most common CT scans:
Abdominal CT Scan
An abdominal CT is a non-invasive way for your doctor to evaluate your internal organs and tissues including the liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. The test can help diagnose abdominal pain. Some of the more common reasons for an abdominal CT scan are for the evaluation of tumors, infections, kidney stones or appendicitis.
Angiogram CT Scan
CT angiography is used to examine blood vessels. Physicians may use the procedure to:
- Identify disease and aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels.
- Guide surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting or evaluating a stent.
- Identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches.
- Screen individuals for arterial disease, especially patients with a family history of arterial disease or disorders.
- Detect thrombosis (clots) in veins.
The images captured in this scan allow the radiologist to construct a three-dimensional image of your vessels and measure blood flow, as well as narrowing of the arteries.
This study will require IV injected contrast agents to help us visualize certain tissue or blood vessels. Some patients describe a metallic taste or tingling sensation right after the injection. This is normal and usually subsides very quickly.
Chest CT Scan
A CT scan of the chest may be ordered by your physician when there is a chest injury or if a tumor is suspected. It can also help determine the size, shape and position of internal organs and help your doctor look for bleeding or fluid in the lungs. A chest scan can find abnormalities in the aorta and disease or damage to the heart.
Head & Neck CT Scan
A CT scan of the head can provide valuable information about head injuries, tumors, stroke or diseases of the brain. The test can also help evaluate conditions of the eyes and sinuses.
Kidneys, Ureter, Bladder (KUB) CT Scan
A CT KUB makes it possible to evaluate the kidneys, ureter and bladder. Since CT scans can distinguish between solid and liquid, it is extremely valuable in examining the type and extent of kidney tumors or other masses, such as stones or cysts, distorting the urinary tract. You do not need to fast or avoid liquids before this study.
Lung CT Scan
A CT scan of the lungs is often ordered when your physician is trying to determine if there is bleeding or fluid in the lungs. It may also be ordered if a tumor is suspected or to determine the size, shape and position of a known tumor.
Sinus CT Scan
A CT Scan of the sinuses primarily is used to:
- Detect the presence of inflammatory diseases.
- Plan for surgery by defining anatomy or giving further information about tumors of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
- Evaluate sinuses that are filled with fluid or thickened sinus membranes.
- Help diagnose sinusitis.
Spinal CT Scan
The most frequent use of spinal CT is to detect — or rule out — spinal column damage in patients who have been injured.
In patients with narrowing of the spinal canal, vertebral fracture, infection or degenerative disease such as arthritis, CT of the spine may provide important information when performed alone or in addition to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT scanning of the spine is also performed to:
- Evaluate the spine before and after surgery.
- Detect various types of tumors in the vertebral column, including those that have spread from another area of the body. Some tumors that can arise elsewhere are first identified by finding deposits of malignant cells in the vertebrae; prostate cancer is an example.
- Help diagnose spinal pain, such as a herniated intervertebral disk.
- Accurately measure bone density in the spine and predict whether vertebral fractures are likely to occur in patients at risk of osteoporosis.
CT Scan FAQ
- Q: What are the risks of a CT?
A: This procedure is extremely safe, though it does use radiation to produce the images. At Hope Imaging Center, we use the least amount of radiation by utilizing a “low dose” technology which decreases the radiation exposure by up to 70%.
- Q: Why did my doctor order a CT if radiation is a concern?
A: CT is a valuable diagnostic tool that uses radiation to peer into the body and produce 3-D images. Based on your symptoms or the area being scanned, a CT scan will provide your doctor with the most detailed information.
- Q: Is there an IV involved with the CT?
A: Depending on your physician’s request, you may receive an “intravenous contrast,” which is needed for many exams.
- Q: How should I prepare for my CT?
A: You will receive instructions when you schedule your appointment. You can also refer to the “prep” section of the website. Be sure to review the instructions for your particular study, as they can vary based on type of study.