Preparing for Your CT Scan

About the scan 

CT scan exams are a common procedure. Some of the exams do require preparation, for example, not eating for a specific length of time before your exam. Please check with your doctor or the radiology staff to find out if preparation is necessary.

We request you leave your valuables at home and make any necessary child care arrangements prior to your CT exam. If there is any possibility you may be pregnant, or if you are nursing a baby, please speak with your doctor before you schedule your appointment.

Questions about your CT exam or about how to prepare for your test?

Length of exam:


CT exams take between 10 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on the type of exam and the reason the exam is being done.

Things to know about the exam:

  • You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
  • Our CT staff will ask you a few questions about your medical history. Any of your questions or concerns can be addressed at this time.
  • Depending upon the type of exam you are having, you may be asked to drink some liquid called “contrast” prior to your exam.
  • Some exams may require a small injection of contrast in to a vein, usually in your arm.
  • Please be assured our staff tailors each type of exam to be assured the best possible images are obtained.

During the exam:

  • You will lie on a CT table while the exam takes place, and for certain exams you will be asked to lie in a particular position. Once you are comfortable the scan will start.
  • The CT table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scan.
  • Then the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed.
  • It is important that you do not move. Any type of motion, including breathing or body movements, can result in blurry images. For this reason you may also be asked to hold your breath for a short duration.

After the exam

After the exam is complete and you are feeling well, you will be able to leave the CT department, unless you have been instructed differently by your doctor. If you had an IV placed in one of your veins for contrast, it will be removed before you leave. You may go about your normal activities. The CT images are reviewed by a board-certified radiologist who sends a detailed report to the physician that ordered the test. Please contact your physician for your results.

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