What To Expect Before Your CT Scan

Below you will find information on what to expect before your CT Scan

  • Medications: It is important for you to keep to your regular medication schedule. Please take all the medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor. Just let our staff know what medications you have taken prior to your test. Please bring your list of medications with you to your appointment.
  • Food and drink: You should not eat solid foods for two hours prior to your test if you are having a CT scan of your abdomen and/or pelvis, or if you are having any CT for which IV contrast will be injected. You may, however, drink plenty of fluids, such as water, broth, clear soups, juice, or black decaffeinated coffee or tea. We encourage you to drink plenty of fluids before your arrival to our department.
  • When to arrive: If you are having a CT scan of your abdomen or pelvis, you need to arrive two hours before your scheduled appointment. This is to allow time for you to drink barium sulfate before your exam and to ensure that the barium fluid completely coats your gastrointestinal tract. The barium helps to highlight body areas for the CT scan. If you are having a scan of a body part other than the abdomen you should arrive  30 minutes before your appointed time.
  • Kidney function labwork before exam: Many CT scans require injection of intravenous contrast solution (dye). Many patients, including all patients over age 60 and certain patients with other medical conditions that can predispose to kidney disease, will need to have current kidney function labs within 30 days of imaging. If lab results are not available, patients may need to have blood drawn in the radiology department prior to imaging. This is for your safety, as patients with significantly diminished kidney function are at increased risk for kidney damage from IV contrast.
  • What to wear: You should dress in comfortable clothing. If you are wearing jewelry or anything else that might interfere with your scan, we will ask you to remove it.
  • Diabetic conditions: If you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, please continue to take your insulin as prescribed, but be prepared to drink fruit juice as needed while you fast for two hours in preparation for your CT scan.
  • Intravenous preparation: Many patients receive a contrast agent intravenously (IV) during their CT test. If your doctor or the radiologist has determined that this procedure will enhance your CT scan results, the technologist will place an IV in your arm or hand prior to going into the test.
  • Hydration Protocol: Some patients with abnormal kidney lab values will require intravenous hydration to reduce the chance that IV contrast will cause kidney impairment, to which they are more susceptible. This requires a four hour stay in the radiology department and can only be accommodated by advance appointment during regular business hours. Sodium bicarbonate solution is used for gentle hydration before and after imaging.

What Is A CT Scan?

A CT scan is a valuable, painless imaging study that allows the radiologist to see a cross section or 3-D image of any part of the body.

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What will happen during my scan?

Learn what you will experience during your CT scan so you are prepared for your procedure.

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