A CT scan can also be called a CAT scan. It uses X-rays to take pictures of the inside of a patient’s body.
The CT scanner is a large camera with a circle-shaped opening in the middle. Some people say it looks like a large doughnut. There is a table or bed that moves into the opening of the scanner during the scan and the patient may hear a humming noise similar to a washing machine. The scanner does not touch or hurt the patient.
It is important for the patient to hold still during the scan in order to obtain diagnostic images. Most CT scans are about 10 to 20 minutes in length. It may be necessary to schedule the appointment with anesthesia or sedation.
For some scans, the radiologist or the ordering doctor may require contrast.
The two most common types of contrast are given orally or by an IV. Depending on the details of the scan, both oral and IV contrast may be required.