CT Scans

A CT scan is a highly specialized X-ray imaging technique used to visualize bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels.

A CT scan produces a high-resolution, cross-sectional image that can be reformatted into 3-D or multiple flat planes. CT scans find injuries and diseases that previously were only detectable by surgery. CT machines are fast and accurate tools often used for examining a large section of the body like the pelvis, abdomen, or chest.

Read more about CT/CAT scans below.

How CT Scans Work

CT (Computed Tomography) and CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) scans are the same thing.

A CT scan is more detailed than an X-ray and is created by combining a string of X-rays captured from multiple angles. A narrow X-ray beam circles one part of the body, taking a series of images from many different angles. The computer puts the images together to take a cross-sectional picture of the body. The doctor can look at the images “slice by slice” for anomalies.

Some CT scans are performed using contrast media that the patient drinks or that the technologist injects into the body, depending on what is being imaged. This contrast media is injected into a vein to help image blood vessels, the urinary tract, liver, or gallbladder. It can also be swallowed to image the digestive tract.

What Can CT Scans Detect?

If you come into the ER with an emergency issue, a CT scan can help determine the cause. CT scans can identify:

  • Congestive heart failure and respiratory issues
  • Cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or liver masses
  • Enlarged glands or lymph nodes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Lung disease
  • Spinal trauma
  • Acute stroke
  • Kidney stones

How Is a CT Scan Performed?

If needed, the patient may need to ingest contrast media or have it injected to aid imaging.

For the CT scan, the patient lies face-up on a platform that moves inside a machine shaped like a tube or donut. The table moves through the scanner as X-rays rotate around the body. The scan is non-invasive and completely painless. The patient must remain still throughout the procedure to obtain clear images, which takes up to 30 minutes.

The radiologist will examine the results of the scan and consult with the emergency doctor to help diagnose the patient’s medical issue.

Uses for Emergency CT Scans

Ultrasound imaging is ordered for a variety of problems patients present, including:

  • Closed head injuries
  • Tissue swelling in the arms or legs
  • Spinal trauma
  • Obstruction of the sinus cavity
  • Blood clots or infection

CT Scan Safety

During a CT scan, exposure to X-rays is minimal. However, there is always a slight risk from radiation exposure. If you are pregnant, inform your doctor before getting a CT scan so they can weigh any risks.

Some people are allergic to the contrast material, which can causes itchiness, a rash, and rarely anaphylaxis. If the patient takes Metformin, they must stop briefly before and after the procedure. 

Please discuss any concerns about CT scans with your doctor during your visit.

Why Family First?

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With an on-site lab and top tier imaging equipment (CT, Ultrasound, & X-ray), we are a diagnostic powerhouse.


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If you are not fully covered, we’ll work with you and your provider to keep out of pocket costs minimal.

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For immediate service Call 346-437-9888
For immediate service Call 346-437-9888