CT Scans

What is a CT Scan?

Computed Tomography (CT) scan is a rapid, pahinless diagnostic examination that combines X-rays and computers. A CT scan allows the radiologist to see the location, nature, and extent of many different diseases or abnormalities inside your body.

Our CT scanner incorporates all recent advances and is capable of rapid scanning and helical imaging, a combination that allows an examination of the abdomen to be completed in seconds. The high-resolution images this system produces reveal unsurpassed details, and computers allow Hillsborough Radiology Center radiologists to manipulate and reconstruct images in multiple planes.

Hillsborough Radiology Center’s CT scanner utilizes state-of-the-art, low-dose technology and provides a comfortable, relaxed patient experience, and the highest image quality, while reducing ionizing radiation.

We establish our scanning protocols based on age, weight, body type, and area of interest to reduce radiation doses as low as possible. We practice Image Wisely Adult Imaging and Pediatric Image Gently to maintain high image quality, while minimizing radiation exposure.

How should patients prepare?

There is usually no preparation required unless the CT scan is of the Abdomen or Pelvis. For those studies, the patient must obtain two doses of oral contrast and a prep sheet with instructions for the exam from Hillsborough Radiology Center.

After arriving at our office for the exam the patient will receive an additional dose of oral contrast. This oral contrast improves the visualization of the bowel on CT studies.

Contrast Studies

Frequently, CT requires IV contrast for an optimum study. For those CT examinations, a non-ionic contrast agent is injected intravenously to aid in diagnosis.

If patients have histories of allergic reactions or has experienced a reaction to contrast material during a previous study, they should be premedicated on the day before the CT exam. The intravenous dyes help evaluate the blood vessels and highlights regions of abnormality.

What will the exam be like?

  • The patient lies comfortably on the CT exam table
  • The table will move slowly into the CT scanner
  • The X-ray tube will move around as it captures images
  • Depending on the exam, a contrast material may be used to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels
  • The contrast material may be injected directly into the bloodstream or swallowed
  • The contrast material will be naturally eliminated within a few hours to a day or two depending on the area examined and the type of contrast material used
  • A CT scan usually takes 15 to 30 minutes