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Outpatient Services

CT Scan

Outpatient Services > What to Expect

What to expect

Making safety a top priority

Like X-rays, or radiographs, CT uses radiation to produce images. Healthcare providers around the world have found that the benefits of CT scans and other diagnostic imaging exams outweigh the small risk of radiation exposure. Lancaster General Health is committed to maximizing quality while working hard to minimize the risk for our patients of all ages.

>> Learn more about radiation safety at LG Health

>> Learn more about our Image Gently® program for pediatric imaging

What to expect

You will lie on your back on a scan table that slides into the scanning machine. The technologist may use pillows or straps to prevent movement. If your doctor has ordered a contrast scan, contrast dye will be injected into an IV line in your hand or arm, or you will drink a liquid contrast preparation. You may feel flushed, have a salty or metallic taste in your mouth or have other sensations. These usually pass in a few minutes. Tell the technician if you have any difficulty breathing, sweating, numbness or heart palpitations.

During the scan, the technologist will be in another room, but will be able to see you, and you will be able to communicate through speakers inside the scanner. The scanner will rotate around you, making clicking sounds as X-rays pass through your body. You must lie very still, and you may be asked to hold your breath for short periods. The test usually lasts from five minutes to half an hour.

How to prepare

Most CT scans don’t require any special preparation. If you are having a contrast CT, your doctor may tell you to fast for a certain period of time before the procedure. Be sure to tell your doctor and the technologist if you could be pregnant or if you have ever had a reaction to contrast material.

Getting your results

The technologist is not permitted to discuss test results with you. A radiologist will interpret the study and forward results to your doctor. You can also view your results at MyLGHealth, a safe, secure online tool.

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