CT FAQ

How long will the scan take?

CT scans usually take 5 to 15 minutes depending on the imaging site but special preparation may be required with contrast agents, which may take up to 90 minutes.

Do CT scans hurt?

No, CT scans do not hurt. You will have to lie still and follow special breathing instructions but you should not feel any pain. An IV catheter may be required, which may cause discomfort.

How much radiation comes from a CT scan?

Our goal is to always give the lowest radiation possible while still achieving quality images. The amount of radiation exposure depends on the area of the body being imaged and the patients size. Please visit our Radiation Safety page for more information on radiation exposure.

What is the difference between MRI and CT?

MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to send images of the body to a computer. MRI does not produce radiation. CT uses radiation and a computer to take images of the body. CT scans are faster and more quiet than MRI scans.

What is contrast? Why do I need a drinkable or IV contrast agent?

Contrast agents are used to improve images of the body taken by x-ray, CT, MRI, and ultrasound. Usually a contrast agent is used to help the radiologist distinguish between normal and abnormal conditions. The agent works by temporarily changing the way imaging tests interact with the body. Depending on the part of the body being scanned and the patients medical history, contrast may be given orally or intravenously.

Will I need sedation?

Most patients do not need sedation. CT scans are faster and more open than MRI and usually only require the head to be under the scanner for short periods of time.

When will I get my results?

A sup-specialty radiologist will evaluate your CT scan and send a report to your doctor within a few days.