CT Scans at RCI
What is a CT scan?
A CT (computerized tomography) scan, often called a CAT scan, is a painless examination that combines x-rays with computer scans. This gives your physician a detailed image of soft tissue, organs and bones. CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissue—lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels—with great clarity.
RCI’s 160-slice CT offers fast scans that create amazingly detailed images. We use the lowest radiation dose and the shortest scan times.
During the scan, ultra-thin x-ray beams pass through your body from many angles in a complete circle. Our equipment offers very low x-ray dose and improved patient comfort.
CT scan services at RCI:
- Maxillofacial (sinus)
- Soft tissue/Neck
- Coronary calcium screening
Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA):
- Head/Neck (MRI contraindicated only)
- Aorta with runoff
How do I make an appointment for a CT scan at RCI?
When you need a low-dose, affordable CT scan in the Cedar Rapids area, choose RCI. Typically your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. Remember, you have a choice of where to go for medical imaging. Tell your doctor you choose RCI.
If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please have your physician's order and any pre-authorization information required by your insurance or health plan provider in hand, and call 319-364-0121.
How should I prepare for my CT scan at RCI?
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your CT exam. You may be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, removable dental work and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the scan images.
Sometimes contrast (also referred to as x-ray dye) is needed to highlight bowel structures, internal organs, or blood vessels. Contrast can be given orally or through an IV. If your exam requires contrast, you may NOT eat for four (4) hours prior to the examination. You may take your normal medications and drink plenty of fluids. For most abdominal and pelvic CT scans, you will be required to drink oral contrast one (1) hour before the scheduled test. The oral contrast is an important part of your test.
If you take any Metformin medication, you will need to stop taking it for 48 hours after your CT exam; your technologist will give you instructions.
Some exams require preparation:
- Head – No prep
- Neck – No solid foods four (4) hours prior to exam
- Spine – No prep
- Chest – No solid foods four (4) hours prior to exam
- Abdomen – No solid foods four (4) hours prior to exam (Oral contrast will be given at the time of your arrival and you will wait approximately one (1) hour for the contrast to move through your intestines.)
- Pelvis – No solid foods four (4) hours prior to exam (Oral contrast will be given at the time of your arrival and you will wait approximately one (1) hour for the contrast to move through your intestines.)
- Extremities – No prep
- Sinuses, temporal bones, facial bones, orbits – No prep
***You may take any necessary medications prior to your exam and drink plenty of fluids.
If you are over 60, have diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease you will need to have a blood test before this procedure to check for kidney function. The blood test must be done within 30 days of the scan. We prefer that you have your lab test performed at least one day prior to your exam.
You will first check in at the front desk and then a technologist will meet you in the waiting area. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
What can I expect?
A patient table and a structure called a gantry are in the scanner room. You will lie down on the table and after you’re comfortable, the technologists will move the table into the gantry opening until you reach the first scan position. At this point all you have to do is relax and remain still while each scan is done. The number of scans required and total time for the examination will vary, but the whole procedure should take between 5-15 minutes.
After your CT scan at RCI
You can go back to your regular diet and activities after the exam. Any contrast you were given will pass naturally through your body within a day.
The radiologist will review and interpret the scan after the exam is completed. A written report will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you. Please allow your physician time to review your results. Urgent findings will be called to your physician.
For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.
RCI is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).