CT Scan with and without contrast appointments near me

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New York Medical Imaging AssociatesCT scan with and without contrast

165 East 84th Street, New York, NY 10028
StethoscopeImaging & radiology

    CT Scan With and Without Contrast FAQs

    What is a CT scan?

    A CT scan (computerized tomography scan) is a tool that doctors use to get a cross-sectional view of soft tissue, blood vessels, bones, and other structures inside your body. CT Scans take a series of x-rays of the body and use computer processing to combine them into the cross-sectional images that doctors use to diagnose conditions and develop treatment plans. CT scans are helpful in diagnosing internal injuries, treatment planning and monitoring, and disease detection. While often performed in hospitals' radiology departments, CT scans are generally outpatient procedures. This means that you can go home on the same day that you receive your scan.

    CT Scans are performed with contrast and without contrast. Contrast is a dye used to enhance your imaging and is only needed in specific instances. Check with your referring physician if you're unsure which CT scan is right for you.

    Why is a CT scan necessary?

    CT scans help doctors assess and diagnose abnormalities in soft tissue and bone. CT scans can also detect vascular medical conditions, like coronary heart disease or blood clots.

    CT scans also help doctors plan for surgeries, giving them an inside look at the structures on which they intend to operate, as well as facilitating biopsies.

    Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to:

    • Detect and diagnose bone and muscle disorders
    • Detect tumors and blood clots
    • Diagnose an internal infection
    • Detect and diagnose certain cancers
    • Monitor conditions such as heart disease, internal organ problems, and masses developing in the body
    • Monitor the progress of cancer treatment
    • Detect internal bleeding

    Do I need contrast?

    Most CT scans do not require contrast. However, if you are undergoing diagnostic imaging for a condition related to the pelvis, abdomen, or gastrointestinal tract, a contrasting agent may be used. Contrast helps separate the tissue being examined from surrounding tissue.

    In general, contrast agents are considered safe for medical use. Some adverse effects have been reported after the use of these substances, which is why they are used infrequently. Before undergoing a CT scan with contrast, talk to your health care provider about factors such as:

    • History of allergic reaction to contrast agents

    • History of allergic reactions to medication, dyes, preservatives, or animals

    • Any medication you may be taking, including herbal supplements

    • Any recent medical conditions or illnesses you have experienced

    • Any pre-existing health conditions you are managing - especially heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disease, and sickle cell anemia

    What side effects do contrast agents produce?

    Adverse effects caused by contrast agents are rare. Common side effects caused by contrast agents include:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Rash/ hives
    • Itchiness
    • Headache

    If you experience more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, abnormal heart rhythms, or confusion, talk to your doctor right away. These are symptoms of an allergic reaction and require immediate treatment.

    Before you undergo a CT scan with a contrast agent, talk to your health care provider about your medical history, any conditions that you may be managing, the medication you are taking, and any allergic reactions you have experienced. It is especially important that you detail any allergic reactions you may have had caused by medication, dyes, preservatives, or animal products.

    How do I prepare for a CT scan?

    The specific preparations for your CT scan will depend on the area of your body being scanned. In some cases - especially those in which the abdomen or intestines are being scanned - you may be asked to fast for 8-12 hours prior to your appointment.

    You may be asked to disrobe and wear a thin, loose-fitting hospital gown before the exam. You will also be asked to remove any metallic items from your person such as piercings and jewelry, as well as eyeglasses and dentures.

    What should I expect at my CT scan?

    During the procedure, you will lie on a motorized table that slides through a circular opening of the scanning machine. A CT scan works by emitting X-ray beams from the CT scanner to capture pictures of the body from multiple angles. Your technologist may ask you to hold still, or even hold your breath, to prevent images from blurring.

    Once the procedure is complete you will likely be asked to drink fluids to help flush out the contrast material from your kidneys.

    After the scan, you will be able to go about your daily activities. In most cases, you will get the results from your CT scan within several business days after your appointment. Depending on your results, your doctor may request follow-up testing.

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