A computed tomography examination (often abbreviated as CT scan or CAT scan) is an advanced, non-invasive X-ray exam. It obtains multiple digital images using a series of thin X-ray beams taken from different angles around your body.
CT scans use computer processing to create cross-sectional images, often called slices, of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan images provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular X-ray exams. Newer technology and software now make three-dimensional CT scan images possible.
What To Expect
Your CT scan can be conducted in a hospital or an outpatient facility. CT scans are painless and, with newer machines, take only a few minutes. The whole process typically takes about 30 minutes.
CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut standing on its side. You will lie on a scan table that slides into a large, circular opening of the scanning machine.
The technologist will be in another room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the technologist through a window.
As the scanner begins to rotate around you, X-rays will pass through the body for short amounts of time. It is normal to hear clicking, buzzing, and whirring sounds.
The technologist may ask you to hold your breath at specific points in the procedure to avoid blurring the images.