CT scan is short for Computed Tomography Scan, and is sometimes called CAT scanning. It is a noninvasive medical test that helps a radiologist study the inner workings of your body. CT scans of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels reveal more details than regular X-ray exams. CT scans are particularly helpful in diagnosing and monitoring diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spine), as well as the chest and abdomen.
128-slice CT scanner
At Winneshiek Medical Center, we provide state-of-the-art technology with a 128-slice CT scanner. Which means your doctor will have more images with more details to diagnose your illness or injury. The CT technology means our patients have shorter exam times, low dose exposure to radiation, and the larger machine helps to reduce anxiety for patients with claustrophobia and improves comfort for patients up to 676 pound.
What to expect
Before your exam, a radiologic technologist will ask you to change into a gown and remove any jewelry. You will be asked to lie on the examining table, usually on your back. Depending on the area of the body to be examined, you may need a contrast agent to help produce clear images. Most contrast agents are injected into your body through a small IV needle. During the injection you may experience a metallic taste in your mouth and a hot, flushed feeling through your body. Please inform the technologist if you are allergic to iodine or have had a previous contrast reaction during a CT scan.
Once the exam begins, the table will move in and out of the CT machine opening, which is shaped like a donut. While the machine is running and images are being taken, you will hear a variety of whirring and clicking noises. Only the area of your body being examined will remain inside the scanner. It is very important that you lie still while images are being taken, so that images are clear. You may be asked to hold your breath during parts of the exam.
The technologist will monitor the machine from a computer in an adjacent room. He or she will be able to see, hear and communicate with you at all times. You will be able to talk with the technologist through an intercom system.
Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or could be pregnant prior to the exam.
The exam is painless and can take from 10 minutes to one hour to perform. A radiologist will interpret the CT scan and your doctor will discuss the results of the scan with you.
Commonly asked questions
When will I get my test results?
- Your doctor should contact you within 2-3 working days. Feel free to contact their office if you do not hear from them.
Does a CT scan hurt?
- If an IV is required, there will be minor discomfort when the IV is started. The CT scan itself is painless.
How long does a CT scan take?
- A CT scan takes 30–60 minutes to complete, on average.