What is a Body CT Scan?

A Body CT scan is a diagnostic test that combines X-rays with computer technology to produce "cross-sectional" pictures of the body. This exam shows the venous system, organs, bones, and tissues in great detail.

Preparation

Please do not eat solid foods for at least three hours before your test. You may, however, drink clear liquids during this time as well as take your usual medications.

You are scheduled to arrive one hour before your scan to allow time for preparation. Upon arriving you will be asked to drink 900-1400 ml (4-6 cups) of barium sulfate. This barium drink enhances the quality of your CT scan by making structures in your body easier to distinguish.

For your exam, you may also be required to receive IV contrast (dye). This contrast is injected through your veins and will further enhance structures in your body on the CT images.

It is important that you inform the technologist
      before your exam if:

You have had IV contrast before

You have asthma

You are allergic to any foods or medications

You may be pregnant or breastfeeding

You are diabetic and taking Glucophage (metformin), Glucovance, or other medications for diabetes with metformin.

How Long Will it Take?

This is different for everyone; however, on average, it should take 15-30 minutes from the time you enter the room.

What Happens in the CT Room?

You will be asked to lie on an X-ray table once you enter the CT room. This table will move in and out of the CT scanner (a large donut-shaped machine that is open on both ends) while acquiring images of your body. You will be required to lie very still during the scan and may also be asked to follow some specific breathing instructions.

After the Exam

You may resume your normal daily routine after your exam. If you were given IV contrast for your exam, be sure to increase your fluid intake to help clear the material from your system.

Getting Your Results

The exam images will first be viewed by a radiologist, a physician specializing in analyzing these exams. Our radiologists will review the results of your CT scan with your doctor who will then explain them to you. Your doctor should have access to your exam results within 24 hours.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.