CT Scan

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan, also referred to as computer assisted tomography, is a diagnostic imaging test used to uncover medical conditions. CT images of internal organs, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular X-ray exams.

CT scanning provides detailed cross-sectional images of the body, which are reviewed by our radiologists. Other commonly performed CT exams include cardiac calcium scoring and virtual colonoscopy, which are described in further detail in the Services section.

What happens during the test?

Our technologist will take a brief medical history. You may be given an oral or IV contrast if indicated. If you are receiving an oral solution, you will be asked to wait 30 to 60 minutes before you are scanned to allow the X-ray dye to move through your digestive tract. If you are receiving IV contrast, you will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, and the IV will be started. You may feel warm and flushed for a few seconds. The part of your body to be imaged will then be positioned in the large doughnut-shaped ring. The CT is quiet, and scan time is very short. You may be given specific breathing instructions. Plan for a 30 to 60 minute appointment.

How do I prepare for the test?

Some exams require a contrast to be administered intravenously or by mouth. For tests that do not require contrast, no prior preparation is required. For exams requiring contrast, a current creatinine test (within 30 days) may be required. The creatinine test is a blood draw to evaluate your kidney function and will normally be performed at your physician’s office or lab prior to the exam. If fasting is required, you are a diabetic, or you have allergies, you will be given special instructions by your referring physician. Wear comfortable clothing around the area to be scanned. You may be asked to change into a gown. Inform your technologist if you have any old images so they may be used for comparison.

When can I expect the results?

A radiologist will review the images and send a report to your referring physician within one business day. Your doctor will review the report and contact you with the results.

After the test

You may return to normal activities following your exam. If you are a diabetic, check with your doctor for instructions before resuming your medication.



* The safety of our patients and those who accompany them to our office is of the utmost importance to the physicians and staff at Iowa Radiology. Please make arrangements for someone to care for your child/children during your exam. Thank you for your cooperation.

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