What is computerized tomography testing?

Also known as: CT scan, CAT scan.

Computerized tomography testing is a medical imaging test that can be used as a diagnostic tool for a wide variety of medical conditions. It involves taking pictures of sections or slices of the body, layer by layer, to get a complete picture of an area of the body.

What happens during the procedure?

The patient lies still on a table, and the table is inserted into a large X-ray machine. The patient must lie still on the table while the scan occurs. Some CT scans require the patient to ingest a contrast dye beforehand in order to make a particular part of the body show up better on the scan.

Is any special preparation needed? 

Patients need to remove any metal from the body prior to a CT scan. Some CT scans may require the patient to avoid food, drink or medications before the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

There are slight risks due to radiation exposure from CT scans. These risks are greater for children or pregnant women. However, the benefits of the scan often far outweigh the risks.


Reviewed by: Yadira L Martinez-Fernandez, MD

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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