Doctor holding up xray

What is a CT or CAT Scan?

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A CT Scan (also called a CAT scan or computed tomography) is a special type of x-ray that obtains information from different angles around your body. Together with a computer, detailed images and 3D pictures are created.

Why should I have a CT Scan?

This procedure can be used on many areas of the body including: head, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. The x-ray pictures are very detailed and can be used to study blood vessels, identify tumors and cancers, or guide a surgeon during a biopsy. This test requires an order from your doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.

Orders, Scheduling, and Insurance - What do I do before the exam?

  • An order is required for all CT exams
  • You can call us directly to schedule your exam, or your Providers office may and schedule the exam for you
  • Call your insurance prior to your exam to determine any coverage restrictions or limitations
  • Call your insurance prior to your exam to determine any prior authorization or notification requirements
  • You can find more information on billing here: BILLING

Exam Preparation - What do I do before the exam?

  • Read over our “Preparing for Your Imaging Exam” page
  • Wear warm and comfortable clothes with no metal, for example: no zippers, buttons, or grommets.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry or other metal accessories as they will need to be removed prior to your exam.
  • There will most likely be specific instructions for eating/drinking before your exam, please speak with your provider.
  • Ask your Provider about any medications you are taking, and bring a copy your current medications list with you to your imaging exam
  • If you are pregnant and/or breast feeding, or could possibly be pregnant, please let us know

Certain exams require contrast (x-ray dye, iodine) in your body before the test starts. This contrast can highlight specific areas in your body, such as the GI tract or vascular system, that will result in a higher quality image. Contrast can be given in a variety of ways: IV needle in your arm, a tube in your rectum (enema), or a liquid (barium sulfate) that you drink.

When you are scheduled for the exam, you will be told if you will receive contrast or not. If contrast is used in your exam, please be aware of the following:

  • You will be asked not to eat or drink for at least 4 hours before the exam. Fasting will allow for the highest quality images.
  • Most of our contrast contains iodine, so please inform us (or your doctor) if you have an allergy to iodine.
  • If you will be drinking contrast (barium), we recommend that water be increased during the 24-48 hours after your exam, to help the barium move through the GI tract and prevent constipation.

If you have any questions about the preparation instructions, please call our office at 309-743-0445.

How long will the exam take?

Depending on the test, the time can vary from 15-60 minutes.

What will the exam be like?

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewelry. You will then be escorted to the exam room and placed on the table.

The CT scanner consists of a narrow table and a large donut-shaped ring. For the exam, the table will move through the opening as a series of x-ray beams rotate around you. A computer in the machine will take these pictures and recreate a 3D image. You will need to remain still for the exam because movement can make the pictures blurry.

What happens with my test results?

One of our specially trained Radiologists will study the images of your test and send a final written report to your ordering provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) within 24-48 hours, unless prior imaging is needed for your exam, in which case it may take longer.

Your ordering provider can then discuss the results with you in detail. If you want to discuss your results you will need to contact your ordering provider. Every Provider’s office has different procedures and turnaround time for discussing results of exams. Our staff is not able to discuss the specifics of the results with you or give you a diagnosis.

What if I have further questions?

If you have any further questions or concerns about this procedure, please contact our office at 309-743-0445 or call your doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.

CT Brochure
Virtual Colonoscopy Brochure