CT Studies

CT scanning is a noninvasive medical test that is one of the most powerful and accurate diagnostic tools. Wake Radiology offers rapid evaluation for serious illness and injury in adults and children through CT studies. 

CT imaging combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. This imaging technique is highly sensitive and provides excellent clarity when studying internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels, and reveals more details than regular X-ray exams.

Our Commitment to Low-Dose

Our commitment to low-dose imaging and to eliminating unnecessary or duplicate exams helps Wake Radiology improve patient outcomes and reduce the overall cost of health care.

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. Wake Radiology also follows special protocols that ensure the safety of our patients when IV contrast is required for their exam.

Board-Certified Radiologic Technologists

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.

Common Adult CT Procedures

  • Abdomen, Abdomen with Pelvis
  • Angiography (specific area)
  • Arthrogram (specific joint)
  • Chest, Chest with 3D rendering images for Pectus deformity
  • Chest: lung screening
  • Coronary calcium scoring (CCS)
  • Enterography
  • Head: Temperal bones, Facial bones, Orbits, with 3D rendering images for craniosynostosis
  • Neck-soft tissue
  • Orthopedic CT with MPR, with 3D rendering images
  • Pelvis
  • Renal colic (CT abdomen/pelvis)
  • Sinus: Screening, Comprehensive, Surgical Plan
  • Spine: CT with MPR, Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbosacral
  • Urogram (CT abdomen/pelvis)

How CT Works

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.

CT imaging is extremely sensitive and provides superior clarity when studying internal organs, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels. CT scans are more detailed than conventional X-ray exams and are a reliable tool for the rapid evaluation of serious illness and injuries in both adults and children. CT imaging can lower the chance of misdiagnosis, improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, and guide the treatment of an injury, infection, or cardiac or vascular disease.

The Typical Length of a CT Scan

The amount of time needed for your CT scan depends on what part of your body is being imaged. It can range from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. During your exam:

  • The technologist performing your exam will review pertinent medical history with you.
  • If oral and/or IV prep is required for the exam, it will be given.
  • The scan will be performed.
  • Images will be reviewed to ensure no additional imaging is needed before you leave the office.

What to Expect During Your CT Scan

We find that patients are often as concerned about having a CT or CAT scan as they are about what they may learn about their pains or illness. That’s why we’ve pulled together information about what will happen during and after your CT scan. At Wake Radiology, we work to ensure you have a comfortable and anxiety-free experience.
During a CT scan, our technologist will help you lie down on a padded table. The table is moveable and will gently pass your body through the CT scanner’s large, donut-shaped gantry. The machine will never touch you and you will be able to see what’s around you. Patients are asked to hold extremely still while all images are being taken to ensure a clear picture. You may be instructed to hold your breath at different intervals during the scan. This will only last for a few seconds.
When your body moves through the CT scanner’s gantry, X-rays will pass through the desired area of your body and will be filtered, or attenuated, as they travel through the body. X-rays 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 this information so the resulting images can be displayed via computer and interpreted by our radiologists.
Some scans may require oral and/or IV contrast to be administered. This helps our radiologists distinguish structures within the body. If contrast is needed, you will be told by your referring physician or at the time of scheduling. After the scan, we’ll ask you to wait for a few minutes while the images are reviewed by the radiologist to ensure that no additional views are needed. If nothing else is needed, you’re free to go. You can resume your normal activities after your scan.

Abdominal Scans

If you have a CT of your abdomen and/or pelvis, you will have the option to pick up oral contrast prior to your appointment or arrive an hour prior to your exam to drink on site. This oral contrast enhances the stomach and gastrointestinal tract for optimal visualization and in most cases is given in conjunction with IV contrast. The IV contrast is administered during the scan while lying on the table and is given for vascular and solid organ characterization.

Pediatric Patients

Pediatric patients having an abdomen and/or pelvis scan will be asked to arrive an hour prior to their appointment time to drink oral contrast on site. Most CT scans are very quick (just seconds); when unavoidable, we will allow a parent/caregiver to remain in the room with pediatric patients during a scan, but prefer to minimize the dose to all parties. We will not allow a pregnant parent/caregiver in the room during the scan, so please make arrangements for another person to accompany your child in the scan room.

Sedation – Message After Go-Live

For most CT exams, sedation is not needed. It can be necessary for some longer exams that require a patient to be entirely motionless. If this is recommended, the doctor ordering the scan will talk with you prior to scheduling. We cannot administer sedation at our outpatient offices. These types of CT scans will be performed at UNC REX Hospital.

Finding out the Results

Once the CT exam is complete, your images are immediately routed to one of our subspecialty-trained radiologists for interpretation. For example, if you had a knee CT, we make sure that your images are interpreted by one of our musculoskeletal/orthopedic radiologists. If previous images are available, we obtain these and our radiologist compares the current exam with this historical information. This helps us determine any changes and how those changes should factor into a diagnosis. Our radiologist then provides an actionable report to the doctor who ordered the CT. Your doctor will follow up with you regarding your results and, if necessary, develop a treatment plan based on that diagnosis.


CT Studies

Committed to Low-Dose

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.


Location. Location. Location.

With locations throughout the Triangle, we are placed where you work, live and play.


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