CT Scan in Dallas, TX

What is Computed Tomography?


CT Scanner

CT (computed tomography), also called a CAT scan, uses x-ray and computer equipment to produce cross-sectional images from of body tissues and organs. CT imaging is useful because it can show several types of tissue, such as lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels.

The cross-sectional images generated during a CT scan can be reformatted in multiple planes, and can even generate three-dimensional images. CT images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels typically provide greater detail than traditional x-rays, particularly of soft tissues and blood vessels.


Common uses of CT

  • Studying the chest and abdomen.
  • Diagnosing cancer. CT examinations are often used to:
    • Plan and properly administer radiation treatments for tumors.
    • Guide biopsies and other minimally invasive procedures.
    • Plan surgery.
    • Determine surgical resectability.
  • Diagnosing and treating spinal problems and injuries to the hands, feet and other skeletal structures.
  • Measuring bone mineral density for the detection of osteoporosis.
  • Identifying injuries to the liver, spleen, kidneys, or other internal organs.
  • Detecting, diagnosing and treating vascular diseases that can lead to stroke, kidney failure, or even death.

Preparing for your CT Scan

  • On the day of your exam, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid clothing with zippers and snaps as metal objects can affect the image.
  • Depending on the part of the body that is being scanned, you may also be asked to remove hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any dentures.
  • You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam.
  • Women should inform their doctor or x-ray tech if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

What to Expect During Your CT Scan

A CT examination usually takes five minutes to half an hour.

  • The technologist positions you on the CT table and pillows are used to help keep you still and in the proper position during the scan. The table will move slowly into the CT scanner opening. Depending on the area of the body being examined, the increments of movement may be very small and almost undetectable, or large enough to feel the motion.
  • To enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels, use of different contrast materials may be required. Depending on the type of examination, contrast material may be injected through an IV, swallowed or administered by enema. Before administering the contrast material, you should inform the radiologist or technologist of the following:
    • Any allergies, especially to medications or iodine,
    • Whether you have a history of diabetes, asthma, kidney problems, heart or thyroid conditions. These conditions may indicate a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or potential problems eliminating the material from the patient's system after the exam.
  • You will be alone in the room during your scan however your technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times. If necessary, many centers allow a friend or family member to stay in the room with you during the exam. To prevent radiation exposure, the friend or family member will be required to wear a lead apron.
  • To determine if more images are needed, you may be asked to wait until the images are reviewed.

CT scanning is painless. Depending on the type of scan you are having, your preparation may differ. To enhance the visibility of body tissue or blood vessels, use of different contrast materials may be administered by:

  • Mouth: You may be asked to swallow water or contrast material, a liquid that allows the radiologist to better see the stomach, small bowel and colon. Some patients find the taste of the contrast material slightly unpleasant, but tolerable.
  • Enema: For a study of the colon, your exam may require the administration of the contrast material by enema. You will experience a sense of abdominal fullness and may feel an increasing need to expel the liquid. The discomfort is generally mild.
  • IV injection: To accentuate the appearance between normal and abnormal tissue in organs like the liver and spleen and to better define the blood vessels and kidneys, a contrast material is commonly injected into a vein. You might feel:
    • Flushed or have a metallic taste in your mouth. These are common reactions which disappear in a minute or two.
    • A mild itching sensation. If the itching persists or is accompanied by hives, it can be easily treated with medication.
    • In very rare cases, you may experience shortness of breath or swelling in the throat or other parts of the body. These can be indications of a more serious reaction to the contrast material. Your technologist should be notified immediately.

CT Scanning for Cancer

CT Scans can help a doctor find a cancer and display things like a tumor's shape and size. They are most commonly an outpatient procedure and can take roughly 10 to 30 minutes. 

By comparing CT scans over time, doctors can see how a tumor is responding to ongoing treatment or to see if a tumor has come back after being given treatment. 

Revolution GSI Low-Dose CT Scanner 

Helping making clinical excellence routine, this scanner helps reduce radiation dose for patients. It successfully scans patients with metal implants and acquires anatomical and functional information in a single scan.  


CT Scan video thumbnail

Video Transcript

"Welcome to Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging, and thank you for trusting us with your care. We would like to make your CT experience as smooth and comfortable as possible."

"Prior to your exam you’ll receive a call from our facility to review your medical history, your insurance benefits, and provide you with preparation instructions for your specific exam. Upon your arrival you’ll be greeted and assisted through the check-in process. If your exam requires contrast, you’ll be given an oral drink while you wait. One of our staff will greet and escort you to a private resting area, where you’ll be provided a personal belongings bag and asked to change into a gown. All of your belongings and valuables should be placed into the bag. This personal belongings bag will remain with you at all times."

"Once changed, you’ll enter the CT Scanner room, where one of our technologists will offer pillows and warm blankets to provide comfort during your exam. In most cases, the nurse will place an IV catheter to administer contrast during your scan."

"Most CT Scans take 15-30 minutes to complete. However, some scans can take up to 1.5 hours. After your exam, you’ll be taken back to the private changing room for you to change back into your clothes. One of our technologists will escort you back to our lobby, concluding your visit."

"We would like to thank you in advance for choosing Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging, where our mission is to provide the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology available, exemplary service to healthcare providers, and unsurpassed care to our patients."

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