Sierra Imaging faq-ct


What is a CT or CAT scan?

CT scans reveal both bone and soft tissues, including organs, muscles, and tumors. Image tones can be adjusted to highlight tissues of similar density, and, through graphics software, the data from multiple cross-sections can be assembled into 3-D images. CT aids diagnosis and surgery or other treatment, including radiation therapy, in which effective dosage is highly dependent on the precise density, size, and location of a tumor

What is the difference between CT and MRI?

CT uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology. MRI uses a combination of a strong magnetic field, radiofrequency, and computer technology.

Does the examination hurt?

Generally the procedure is painless. If your procedure is ordered with intravenous (IV) contrast, a minor needle stick will be involved.

What will it feel like when I get the intravenous (IV) contrast?

Some patients may note a metallic taste, and/or a warm sensation throughout the body. However, most patients do not feel any different.

What is the difference between MRI and CT intravenous (IV) contrast?

MRI IV contrast is a gadolinium based solution which will show blood vessels/blood flow. CT IV contrast is an iodine based solution that will show areas of blood vessels/blood flow.

What does the oral contrast agent taste like? Why do I have to drink it and why so much?

It tastes similar to a Berry smoothie. The oral contrast agent coats your stomach, small bowel, large bowel, and lower colon so it is more easily identified on the images. The bowel tract is approximately 20 feet long and it takes a generous amount of contrast to coat it adequately – the more, the better.

Why would I have a CT as opposed to a MRI?

Because the indication, your medical condition, and the area of interest can be better imaged and diagnosed in CT.

If I’m pregnant, can I have a CT scan?

Generally not, however, your ordering doctor and the radiologist may think the benefits of having the test outweigh any risks. Be sure to notify staff personnel if you are pregnant or possibly pregnant and have a procedure scheduled.

Does a CT scan involve a lot of radiation?

A combination of taking thin slices and technology reduces radiation to the patient. Recent updates to equipment and software have significantly reduced radiation.