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The MedRisk Blog

I’m Scheduled for a CT Scan. Now What?

As part of our Patient Advocacy Program, MedRisk is committed to informing injured workers on what they can expect when they’re scheduled for workers’ comp-related tests and procedures.

This post is designed to help patients prepare for a CT (short for computerized tomography) scan. It should not be considered medical advice; if you have specific questions, you should contact your physician or case manager.

What is it?

CTs use x-rays and computers to generate a cross-sectional image of a targeted area. They are useful in examining muscle or bone disorders, among other things. Sometimes a CT “with contrast” is prescribed; in these cases, dye is injected to help highlight certain areas.

What to expect

Pre-exam questions

  • Because CT machines use x-rays, you’ll be asked a number of questions in advance of your exam. If your doctor has ordered a CT “with contrast,” it is also important for the radiologist and the technician to know if you have iodine allergies.

What to wear

  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to put on a hospital gown, depending on the body part.
  • Leave your jewelry (rings, watches, earrings, etc.) at home. You’ll be asked to remove them for the exam.

About the exam

  • The CT unit looks like a large doughnut; you lie on a table that moves through the center hole.
  • On average, you can expect 15-30 minutes per body part.
  • If your doctor prescribed a CT “with contrast,” your nurse or technician will inject the dye prior to your exam.