CT Scanning

At UP Health System - Marquette a complete staff of Registered CT Radiographers participate in and perform a multiple extensive procedures that aid in many medical diagnoses.  The CT Department at UP Health System - Marquette is proud to be an ACR (American College of Radiology) Accredited Facility and proud to provide quality care and lower radiation doses to our patients.

CT Procedures......

How Does It Work?

A Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scanner is basically a larger X-ray machine that spins around the body taking many “snapshots” of the internal organs, bones, and soft tissues.  The patient lies on the scan table, which slides through the middle of the CT scanner.  The “snapshots” are combined together with the aid of a computer creating cross-sectional images or slices of the body.  In some cases, a contrast dye is used to help the Radiologist interpret the images.  This contrast dye may be injected into the bloodstream, ingested through the gastrointestinal tract, or intrathecally (into the spinal canal).  CT Scans provide more detailed images than traditional radiographs (x-rays).

CT Scanning

Will It Hurt?

CT scan is a painless exam.  Patients who are receiving Intravenous Contrast Dye (also known as IVP Dye) may experience a warm sensation, metallic taste, and or the feeling of urination.  Please inform the technologist if you are allergic to Intravenous (IVP) Contrast Dye.

If your IV hurts, or you experience any difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling inform the technologist immediately. 

How Do I Prepare?

Wear comfortable clothes without metal.  The technologist may ask you to change into a gown for the procedure.  Bring any paperwork given to you by your ordering physician.  Depending upon the exam and previous medical history a prep may be ordered prior to receiving your CT Scan.  Your ordering physician should inform you if any of these are needed.  Some of these preps may include withholding medications, withholding food and beverage intake, gastrointestinal preps, lab work, allergy preps, and or hydration.  Inform your ordering physician if you have any history of asthma, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid problems, or if there is a possibility you may be pregnant. 

CT Scan - How Do I Prepare

What If I am Claustrophobic?

You should contact your ordering physician so they can make arrangements prior to your CT exam.  Most CT exams have a table time of less than 15 minutes.

How Will I Receive Results?

Once your procedure is completed it is sent to be read by a Radiologist.  The images will then be interpreted and transcribed.  A report will be sent to your ordering physician who will contact you with the results of your procedure. 

What About The Contrast Used?

Contrast agents provide additional information that could not have been obtained otherwise.  The contrast agents that are present in the CT Department are sometimes used to highlight the gastrointestinal tract, spinal canal, arterial/venous systems, and organ systems.

The Intravenous Contrast Dye used is a clear, colorless fluid that is removed from your body through your kidneys.  Patients who are over the age of 60, diabetic, or have lower kidney functions may need lab work prior to their scan.  Please inform the technologist if you are a diabetic, currently breastfeeding, or have ever been diagnosed with pheochromocytoma, myeloma, or monoclonal gammopathy. 

Some patients may have an allergy to the Intravenous Contrast Dye, it is very important to inform the technologist if you have a known Contrast Dye allergy.  If IV Contrast is indicated for your procedure an Intravenous (IV) Catheter will be placed prior to your CT Scan.  Some patients may experience a warm sensation, metallic taste, and or the feeling of urination upon injection of the IV Contrast media. 

If your IV hurts, or you experience any difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling inform the technologist immediately.

Post Intravenous Contrast Instructions

For your exam today, you received a special intravenous contrast media called IV Contrast.  This is a clear, colorless fluid that is removed from your body through the kidneys.
Resume your usual diet and medications.

To help flush this contrast from your system, and replace fluid you may have lost from the prep, we recommend that you drink extra liquids today.  If your doctor has not ordered you to restrict your fluids, try to drink at least ten 8-oz. glasses of fluids (i.e., juice, milk, coffee, water, tea, soft drinks) in addition to what you normally drink with your meals.

If you are diabetic, and take the drug Glucophage or Glucovance (metformin and metformin containing products) check with your doctor about stopping this drug for 2 days after this exam.
If you are nursing it is recommended that after a contrast injection you wait a period of 24 hours and discard of breast milk before resuming breast feeding.
It is not likely for you to have any problems once you leave the hospital, however, the following situations may indicated a side effect from the contrast, requiring medical attention:
  • You notice a red line leading up your arm.
  • Your arm feels warm and painful, especially at the puncture site.
  • You develop a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit orally.
  • You develop a rash or hives.
To report any of the above side effects or for answers to any questions or concerns, please call your doctor or the nearest Emergency Department or clinic.
UP Health System - Marquette Emergency Department (906) 225-3561
Emergency Services dial 911

Risks and Benefits

CT scan is a noninvasive procedure
CT scan can reveal internal injuries quickly in emergency cases.
CT scan produces cross-sectional images, which are more detailed than conventional X-rays.
CT scan can be used on patients who have any implanted medical devices such as pacemakers or spinal fusions.
CT scan can perform real-time imaging, which aids in many invasive medical procedures such as biopsies and needle aspirations.
CT is less sensitive to patient movement than MRI
CT Scans are typically not recommended for pregnant patients, please inform the technologist if you are pregnant.
Patients may be allergic to the IV Contrast that is used in the CT Department.
Effective Radiation doses vary among the different procedures.  For more information please visit the following website.