Tobias Schifter, MD, FACR -Medical Director Diagnostic Imaging
What is CT scanning?
CT scanning – sometimes called CAT scanning – is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. The CT scanner is typically a large, box-like machine with a hole, rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry. You will be monitored by a technologist throughout your exam. They can see you, hear you and speak with you during the scan. You will be called prior to your scan for pre-screening questions and provided instructions for any preparations which may be necessary.
Preparing for your Scan
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without metal
- You may be asked to change into a gown
- Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam
- You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work
- Do not eat or drink anything except water 4-6 hours prior if you will be receiving contrast
- Inform your physician if you have an allergy to contrast or sulfa so that medications can be prescribed
- Inform your physician if you are Claustrophobic or have anxiety during the exam so that a sedative may be prescribed
- You will need a driver if you are prescribed medication
What is PET/CT?
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease states in the body. The PET scan demonstrates the biological function of the body often before anatomical changes take place, while the CT scan provides information about the body’s anatomy such as size, shape and location. By combining these two technologies, physicians can more accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.
About the Scan
You will receive an intravenous injection of a radioactive tracer and will rest quietly for approximately 1 hour while the tracer is distributed throughout your body. You will then be asked to lie on a table that passes slowly through the scanner. The CT portion of the test sends x-rays through the body that are processed to show the body structure. The PET portion of the test produces a whole body map of the tracer distribution. The scanning process takes less than 30 minutes.
Preparing for your Scan
- Do not eat or drink anything except water for 4-6 hours before your test
- Wear comfortable clothing
- Take any prescribed medication unless instructed otherwise
- Notify your physician if you are pregnant, breast feeding or are diabetic
- If you are claustrophobic or have anxiety during the exam we will prescribe a sedative for you prior to the exam. In such cases you will need a driver to take you home
If you need to cancel your PET scan please do so 24 hours in advance as the isotope used is very expensive and is prepared prior to your arrival and is made specifically for you. If you fail to notify ICRC 24 hours prior you may be charged for the isotope portion of the scan.