A CT scan is one of many services offered by the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging at Cincinnati Children’s.

A CT scan is sometimes called a CAT (computerized axial tomography) 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.

What to expect during your CT scan

During the scan, the patient will lie down on a table or bed that moves into the opening of the scanner. 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 to obtain diagnostic images. Most CT scans last  10-20 minutes. In some cases, it may be necessary to schedule the appointment with anesthesia or sedation. 

Contrast may be used for some scans.  Depending on what is being looked at, contrast can help show some things better on the images. A radiologist or the ordering doctor will decide if contrast is needed.

The two most common types of contrast are given orally (by mouth) or by IV (intravenous). Depending on the details of the scan, both oral and IV contrast may be required.


Have a question or comment about CT scans? Visit our contact page or email us at radiology@cchmc.org.