CT Scanning

Advanced Imaging Procedures

Computer-assisted tomography (CT) uses special X-ray equipment to obtain images of the body from different angles. The images are processed to create a cross-section image. CT is able to show several types of tissue with great clarity and provides the radiologist with a 3D view of the scanned area. This perspective can be very helpful in diagnosing disease and planning appropriate treatments.

At MarinHealth Medical Center, we work with the latest-generation, state-of-the-art GE 64-slice scanner. The CT scanner itself looks very much like a doughnut. Inside this doughnut, an X-ray source rotates, emitting a beam that is recorded by a detector located on the opposite side of the ring. These images are recorded and computer processed to reconstruct a 3D image.

What You Should Know About CT Scans

In order to provide a better image, special liquids, called contrasts, may be given orally and/or through an IV. These contrasts are used to enhance the viewing of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract. IV contrast is processed through the kidneys and thus renal function must be considered. You may need to get a blood test to check for kidney function before your exam. The test is called a serum creatinine, and your doctor should provide you with the order.

Preparation Information

  • Spine/bones – No preparation
  • Head (no IV contrast) – No Preparation
  • CT angiogram – Clear liquids, no solid food for four hours prior
  • Abdomen and/or pelvis – Clear liquids, no solid foods for four hours prior