The CT scan (also called CAT scan) is one of the most modern medical imaging techniques. It produces images of different parts of the body (brain, lungs, lumbar spine, etc). The device uses an X-ray source similar to ordinary X-rays, but rotates around the patient to generate a 3-D image of the anatomical region under examination. The information obtained is then processed by a powerful computer that can produce very sharp images of different body parts. CT scans can highlight several anomalies that are less noticeable with other imaging techniques. The CT scan is often compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These are two different tests that have their peculiar specificities. Hence, the CT scan is much faster, examination lasting only a few seconds. Also, the unit of CT is a ring rather than a tunnel such as the MRI, so there are little or no problems of claustrophobia. Finally, there is much less restrictions for CT than MRI (ex: pacemaker patients can take the CT scan).
Depending on your clinical information, the examination can be achieved with injection of an iodine-based intravenous contrast substance. Sometimes, we might also induce the contrast material through the mouth or rectum. It all depends on what aspect of your body your doctor wish to investigate. The radiologist will choose the best technique for your case.
The examination is performed without pain and is very fast. We recommend that you drink two glasses of water before your appointment. Your exam should last less than 10 minutes for a CT scan without contrast medium, and up to one hour when the injection of such a medium is required.