Computed Tomography

This technique uses x-rays to form a series of 3-D cross sectional images. Hundreds of thousands of tiny detectors are exposed and the computer forms the image from tiny squares or pixels. The x-ray exposure is frequently similar to or less than conventional x-rays of similar body parts. Little preparation is required for brain, spine, joint, or extremity exams, except occasionally avoiding solid foods, if the ordering physician has requested an exam requiring IV contrast.

Exams of the abdomen and pelvis usually require drinking a dilute juice or water containing a small amount of contrast agent to aid in distinguishing the bowel from other structures. Sometimes beginning to drink the fluid the evening prior to the day of the exam may be necessary. Check with the radiology department scheduling your procedure for further information.

Last updated June 15, 2011