Computed Tomography (CT or CAT Scan)
CT scanning—sometimes called CAT scanning—is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
CT imaging combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple cross sectional images or pictures of the inside of the body. This imaging technique is very sensitive and provides great clarity when studying internal organs, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels, and reveals more details than regular X-ray exams.
Wake Radiology’s computed tomography (CT) program employs stringent dose reduction guidelines for adult and pediatric CT exams and we proudly participate in the Image Gently initiative sponsored by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging. As well, Wake Radiology follows special protocols that ensure the safety of our patients when IV contrast is required for their exam.
All of Wake Radiology’s CT technologists are computed tomography board certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). We have radiologists on site that are proactive in determining what the best exam should be based on history and symptoms provided by the referring physician, which helps to ensure that our patients get the most appropriate exam and not multiple exams. Wake Radiology understands that performing the best exam the first time saves the patient expense and time away from work.
How does CT Work?
In CT, X-rays pass through the desired cross section of anatomy and are attenuated or “filtered” as they travel through the body. Those that successfully make it all the way through the body are measured by special detectors that send the information to a computer. The computer then processes the information using mathematical calculations to produce a series of images. The images are displayed on a computer monitor for viewing and interpretation by the radiologist. These images are then saved electronically on our secure computer system (PACS—Picture Archiving and Communication System) dedicated to the archival and retrieval of medical images.
Depending on the part of your body being examined, there may or may not be preparation involved. Your doctor will provide specific instructions to fit your particular situation. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
What should you expect during your CT Scan?
A CT scan is performed with you lying on a padded table. The table moves you into the gantry, the circular opening of the scanner. For all scans, you must hold very still while the images are being acquired to ensure a clear picture. You may be instructed to hold your breath at different intervals during the scan. Some scans may require the administration of intravenous, oral, or rectal contrast to enhance vessels and to help visualize the intestinal tract. After completion of the scan, you will be asked to wait for a few minutes while the images are reviewed by the radiologist to ensure that no additional views are needed.
Finding out the results
Your CT scan will be examined by a board certified radiologist, a physician who specializes in medical diagnosis through imaging. The results of your examination will then be conveyed to the health care provider who ordered the examination who will then discuss the results of your examination with you.
Appointments should be scheduled ahead of time by your referring physician’s office; however, we will try to accommodate out-of-town patients and patients in need of urgent exams.
We have seven locations in the area capable of performing CT exams: WR North Hills, WR West Raleigh, WR Cary, WR Garner, WR Chapel Hill, WR Northwest Raleigh, and WR Wake Forest.
Most major insurers will pay for CT examinations, although some require prior authorization for certain procedures. Patients may be required to pay at the time of service depending on the type of insurance coverage. You should check your benefits with your insurers at least a day before the exam.
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. As a courtesy to you, we will be glad to file your insurance claims. Bring your insurance card with you when you come for the exam. You will be responsible for all services that are not covered by your insurance.
We participate with most health care plans. If you have any questions about your coverage, you may call our business office at (919) 787-8221 or toll free at (800) 675-2232.