What is a CT?
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scan) is a medical diagnostic tool that allows doctors to see organs and structures within the human body. This helps to diagnose disease, see internal abnormalities or determine the extent of injury due to trauma. If the radiologist does see something on your scan, that information can be extremely helpful in determining the proper treatment option.
What to Expect During Your Exam
During a typical CT procedure, the patient lies on a table. The tabletop then moves the patient through an x-ray tube. The x-ray tube rotates around the patient as the x-ray beams pass through the patient and thousands of x-ray measurements are acquired. The computer then processes this information and displays the images on a computer screen. The images are "cross-sectional planes" taken from a part of your body, much like slices taken out of a loaf of bread. The length of the exam will depend upon the area to be scanned and specific information needed by your doctors, but typically the exam time is less than 10 minutes.
After the Test is Completed
Once the technologist has completed all technical steps necessary to interpret your scan, it will be sent electronically to the radiologist for interpretation. Following radiologist dictation, a medical transcriptionist will type a report and send it to your physician. The post exam processes; exam dictation, report transcription, radiologist review of report and signature, usually takes 2-3 business days.
Your physician does have several options at his or her disposal to obtain immediate results for critical or emergent clinical situations.