CT or CAT Scan

What is it?

CT stands for computed tomography. It uses special X-ray equipment to take pictures that show a "slice" of your body. The versatile Spiral CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) machine produces a cross section image of the body's internal organs. A low-dose CT delivers less radiation than a conventional CT scan and is used for lung cancer screening.


Diagnosing broken bones, cancer, blood clots, abdominal conditions, internal bleeding.

What Happens

You lie still on a table and may have to hold your breath for a short time. The CT machine is aimed at the part of your body that your healthcare provider neds to see. For some CT scans you may receive a "contrast dye", which makes parts of your body show up better. The dye may be given through an intravenous (IV) tube or syringe in your arm. Some dye is given in a drink.

What You Need to Know

If you are scheduled for a CAT Scan:

  • Exams typically require last only 15 minutes
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids the day before a head, chest, or abdominal scan.
  • On the day your Scan is scheduled, arrive 30┬áminutes early to take care of any necessary paperwork at Outpatient Registration.
  • If having an abdominal and/or pelvic scan, you will need to drink liquid barium - half a bottle two hours before the scan and the other half one hour before the scan. Please be sure not to eat anything four hours prior to the exam.
  • Most spinal and head scans require no special patient preparations or restrictions.

All outpatient imaging services require a referral from your physician. To find a physician, call 844.GO.SOVAH.