What should I expect?
CT scans are painless and, with newer machines, typically take only a few minutes to complete.
During the CT scan
CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut standing on its side. You lie on a narrow table that slides into the "doughnut hole," which is called a gantry. Straps and pillows may help you stay in position. During a CT scan of the head, the table may be fitted with a special cradle that holds your head still.
As the X-ray tube rotates around your body, the table slowly moves through the gantry. While the table is moving you may need to hold your breath to avoid blurring the images. You may hear clicking and whirring noises. Each rotation yields several images of thin slices of your body.
A technologist will be nearby, in a separate room. You will be able to communicate with the technologist via intercom.
After the CT scan
After the exam you can return to your normal routine. If you were given a contrast material, your doctor, a nurse or the CT technologist performing the scan may give you special instructions. You may be asked to wait for a short time in the radiology department to ensure that you feel well after the exam. After the scan, you'll likely be told to drink lots of fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body.