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Imaging Referral
Doctors and nurse practitioners to create a referral for an MRI, CT Scan or Ultrasound

CT Scan

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.

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.

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

How much does a CT scan cost?

A CT scan can range anywhere from $300-$6750 with insurance, depending on the doctor you choose to see. With Sesame, you can book a CT scan in for a fraction of the cost. Connect with a real, quality doctor on Sesame to save up to 60% on your next CT scan.

Online marketplaces like Sesame offer affordable CT scans - even if you don't have health insurance. Sesame works directly with doctors to set prices, so the price you see is the price you pay. No hidden fees, no surprise bills, no overhead costs - just affordable, convenient health care with quality doctors.

What is diagnostic medical imaging?

Diagnostic imaging describes technology that doctors use to see inside your body to diagnose and treat medical conditions. Doctors may order an x-ray, for example, to treat a broken arm, or a mammogram to scan for breast cancer. Here are some of the most common diagnostic medical imaging tools that doctors use to care for their patients.

- Doppler ultrasound: A special type of ultrasound that looks at major blood vessels to evaluate blockages in blood vessels, plaque build-up, or detect any congenital defects.

- X-rays: This process uses ionizing radiation that travels by electromagnetic waves to produce an image.

- Mammograms: These x-ray pictures for the breast detect early signs of breast cancer.

- CT Scan: A mix of computer imaging and x-rays that create a more detailed picture of your tissues, bones, and organs.

- MRI: A machine that uses a computer along with radio waves and magnets to produce a detailed image without the use of ionizing radiation.

Health care marketplaces like Sesame make it easier than ever to speak to licensed doctors in who can recommend and schedule the diagnostic imaging procedure that is right for you.

Which diagnostic imaging scan do I need?

CT scans are a form of diagnostic imaging, a set of tools that allow doctors to see directly inside your body to better diagnose and treat conditions. Other common diagnostic imaging tools include:

  • MRI: A machine that uses a computer along with radio waves and magnets to produce a detailed view inside the body, without exposing patients to any radiation exposure.

  • X-rays: X-rays use ionizing radiation, which travels by electromagnetic waves, to produce images of structures inside the body.

  • Mammograms: Mammograms take X-ray images of the breast to detect early signs of breast cancer.

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound technology allows for real-time sonograms (images) without the use of radiation.

  • Doppler ultrasound: Special type of ultrasound that looks at major blood vessels to evaluate blockages in blood vessels, plaque build-up, or detect any congenital defects.

Your referring health care provider can help you make the right choice when it comes to medical imaging. Now, Sesame makes it easier than ever to book a visit with a radiologist today - no insurance needed.

Is MRI different from X-rays or CT scans?

Yes! While all three are forms of diagnostic imaging - technology that allows doctors to see inside your body to diagnose conditions - they vary significantly in their uses. Here's how.


Anyone who's ever broken a bone, or even just gone to the dentist, has gotten an X-ray. X-rays (or radiography) use ionizing radiation to form clear images of the internal parts of the body. These electromagnetic waves pass through your body. Areas with high levels of calcium (bones and teeth) block the radiation, causing them to appear white on the image. Soft tissues allow the radiation to pass through and appear gray or black on the image. X-rays are the fastest and most accessible imaging services and are often considered the first line of imaging.

X-rays are optimal for examining bones and teeth, but less effective in diagnosing conditions within the body's softer tissue.

CT Scans

CT scans, also known as computed tomography, may be used to evaluate head trauma, bone fractures, pneumonia, internal bleeding, issues concerning internal organs, tumors, and the development of cancer or its response to treatment. Doctors order CT scans more often because they're less expensive and faster than MRIs while providing high-quality images they need to make a diagnosis. However, because CT scans do use a small dose of ionizing radiation doctors may refer patients who are pregnant or that require a clearer image to get an MRI.

If you're needing any of these services, Sesame can connect you directly with top-rated providers in all at affordable cash prices. Browse availability and book an appointment online with Sesame- no insurance needed. It's that simple!