CT scanning (computerized axial tomography) -- sometimes called CAT scanning -- is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT scanning combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures from different angles and joins them together to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs. CT imaging compares to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices. When the image slices are put back together, the result is a detailed multidimensional view of the body's interior.
CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular X-rays. Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.
Alton Memorial Hospital has two CT machines, including a 64-slice scanner that offers unprecedented image quality and lowered radiation dose to the patient. The 64-slice CT also allows thinner slices in a shorter time, resulting in more detail and additional view capabilities. It can scan through large sections of the body in just seconds. Such speed is beneficial for all patients but especially children, trauma victims, the elderly and the critically ill.
CT Procedure with Contrast
If you have a CT scan procedure with IV contrast (dye), contact your physician if any unusual symptoms occur, such as a rash or hives. If your IV site is sore, reddened or swollen, apply a warm, wet washcloth to the area for 15-20 minutes four times a day and elevate your arm on a pillow. Call your physician if symptoms persist for more than 48 hours.
If you have a CT scan procedure with oral contrast (barium), drink extra fluids to aid in passing the contrast from your system. If you become constipated, contact your physician.
If any life-threatening symptoms occur, go to the Alton Memorial Emergency Department or call 911.
To schedule an appointment with the Alton Memorial Hospital Imaging Center, please call 618.463.7647
or email us