CT Scan & Procedure
Scheduling and Directions
DeKalb Medical is a premiere provider of CT scan in Atlanta. This test also is known as a CAT scan, computed axial tomography scan or a computed tomography scan. A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body.
A CT scan procedure involves the use of X-ray and a computer to produce multiple images of the inside of the body. The equipment has a camera that takes pictures of your body during the CT scan to capture images from various angles. These images are joined together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied and have greater detail than the images provided through a regular X-rays.
A CT scan has greater clarity than conventional X-ray. Bone, soft tissue, internal organs, and blood vessels are some of the area’s that can be studied using this test. A CT scan procedure rapidly creates detailed pictures of the body, including the brain, chest, spine and abdomen. A CT scan test may be used to:
- Guide a surgeon to the right area during a biopsy
- Identify masses and tumors, including cancer
- Study blood vessels
A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your CT scan images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your CT scan procedure at DeKalb Medical. Your physician will share the results with you.
Read more about a CT scan here.
Preparing for Your CT Scan Procedure
A CT scan is essentially painless. Be sure to tell you doctors if you have any of the following conditions because they may increase your chances of having a reaction to the contrast or the CT scan.
- Any recent illness
A history of heart or lung disease
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. Depending on your test, you may be asked to lie on your back, side or stomach. The scanner itself is donut-shaped and will rotate around your body while it takes the images. You will be asked to lie very still and may be asked to hold your breath for different lengths of time while the images are being taken.
The entire CT scan procedure will last approximately 10 to15 minutes. You may return to your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed.
Some CT scans require the use of a special dye or contrast material. There are two different types: oral and intravenous contrast. Some exams require both, while others only require one. The contrast material is used to highlight certain areas of the body and create a clearer image. The contrast also helps give the radiologist additional information when he or she is reading your exam.
If you are having an abdominal or pelvic CT scan, you may be given a special liquid to drink before your procedure. This liquid helps to coat the stomach, small bowel and colon. Make sure to ask your doctor about this before you go in for your test because the test cannot be performed unless this step has been taken and it can cause your appointment to last much longer.
Do not eat or drink anything for two hours prior to drinking the liquid. You should drink it two hours before your appointment. There are few, if any, side effects to the oral contrast although you may notice white stools for a couple of days following your scan. If you have allergies to barium products and/or have difficulty swallowing, talk with your physician before your CT scan.
Depending on the area of your body that is being scanned or the symptoms you are experiencing, some of your organs or blood vessels may need to be better viewed. If this is the case, an IV needle will be inserted into your arm or hand, and used to give you the contrast material. This is similar to what you may feel when getting your blood drawn. Images are sometimes taken both before and after you are given the contrast material.
The contrast can cause some patients to become nauseous. If you know you are having an intravenous contrast, you should not eat for four hours prior to your CT scan. Unless otherwise instructed, drink plenty of fluids following your exam to allow the contrast to pass out of your body through your kidneys.
Scheduling and Directions
Your physician may contact DeKalb Medical to schedule your CT scan for you or you may be asked to schedule your own procedure. If you need to schedule your CT scan, call 404.501.2660.
If your CT scan will be performed at the Diagnostic Imaging Center at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur,
- From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.
If your CT scan is being performed at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, go to the hospital’s registration area.
- Park in the hospital parking lot.
Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department for your CT scan.