A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a detailed X-ray used to produce three-dimensional images of the body. This type of imagery allows your doctors in Eau Claire to view your body without having to perform surgery. A CT scan has many uses, but is particularly well-suited to quickly examine you if you have internal injuries from a car accident or another type of trauma. A CT scan can be used to visualize nearly any part of the body.
CT scans are painless and typically take only a few minutes to complete.
CT images can be compared to looking down at single slices of bread from a loaf. Your provider will be able to look at each slice individually or perform additional visualization to view your body from different angles. In some cases, CT images can be combined to create 3D images. CT scan images can provide much more information than do plain X-rays.
CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut standing on its side. You lie on a narrow table that slides into the doughnut hole, which is called a gantry. Straps and pillows may help you stay in position. During a CT scan of the head, the table may be fitted with a special cradle that holds your head still.
The table will move slowly through the gantry during the CT scan, as the gantry rotates in a circle around you. Each rotation yields several images of thin slices of your body. You may hear buzzing, clicking and whirring noises.
A technologist will be nearby, in a separate room. You will be able to communicate with the technologist via intercom. The technologist may ask you to hold your breath at certain points to avoid blurring the images.
After the exam you can return to your normal routine. If you were given a contrast material, you may receive special instructions. In some cases, you may be asked to wait for a short time before leaving to ensure that you feel OK after the exam.
After the scan, you'll likely be told to drink fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body.