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An X-ray, or X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. This can help doctors diagnose, monitor, and treat many medical conditions.
CT Scan Overview
When do you need it?
How to prepare?
During the procedure:
- Depending on which part of your body is being scanned, you may be asked to:
- Take off some or all of your clothing and wear a hospital gown
- Remove metal objects such as a belt, jewellery, dentures and eyeglasses
- Contrast material, a special dye needed for some CT scans to help highlight the areas of the body being examined, might be given to you by mouth, injection or enema
- The procedure is painless and should not take longer than 30 minutes.
- You will lie on a narrow, motorized table that will slide through the opening of the machine, while detectors and X-ray tubes rotate around you.
- You may hear buzzing or whirring noises.
- A technologist in a separate room can see and hear you. You will be able to communicate with the technologist via intercom. The technologist may ask you to hold your breath at certain points to avoid blurring the images.
After the procedure:
- Return to normal routine!
- If you are given a contrast material, you may be asked to wait a short while before leaving to ensure you feel well after the exam, and you will also be asked to drink lots of fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body.
- Radiologist interprets CT images and sends a report to your doctor.
How it works?
Why it is needed?
- Metallic joint prostheses
- Artificial heart valves
- A pacemaker
- Metal pins, clips, plates, staples
- Cochlear implants
- Some darker tattoo inks contain metal
- Inform your doctor if you think you may be pregnant, as the effects of MRI on fetuses are not well understood
- Discuss kidney or liver problems, which may interfere with delivery of a contrast agent
How to prepare?
- Hearing aids
- Underwire bras
What to expect?
- During the scan: The machine is a narrow tube with two open ends, with a moving table inside the tube on which the patient lies. A technician will monitor you from another room, and you can speak to them via microphone. If you have a fear of enclosed spaces, you may be given a drug to make you feel sleepy and less anxious. The MRI creates a strong magnetic field around you while radio waves are directed at your body. During the painless procedure, there are no moving parts and around you and you will not feel the magnetic field or radio waves. During the scan, you may hear thumping or tapping noises from the internal magnet, and you may be given earplugs to block out the noise. Sometimes, you will be administered a contrast agent through an IV to help enhance certain details in the image. An MRI can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, and you must do your best to remain still in order to prevent blurry images.
- After the test: If you haven’t been sedated, you can resume your usual activities immediately after the scan is complete.