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Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

With a CT, doctors do not have to cut into the patient or push tubes or cameras into the body. Unlike an MRI however, a CT can be done even if the patient has a pacemaker or other implanted devices.

For more information call 805-737-3375

Like an MRI, a CT scan is a non-invasive procedure to see the organs inside of your body. Though an MRI and CT scan share many similarities, these procedures are entirely different from one another. Knowing the difference between an MRI and CT scan can help you make the right decision if you need an imaging test.

What Is a CT Scan?

A CT scan uses X-ray technology to take a series of photos from different angles around your body. Like an MRI, it can provide your doctor with a clear view of your internal structures, including bones, soft tissues, and blood vessels.

Services we offer:

  • Abdominal and pelvis CT scan
  • Cranial or head CT scan
  • Spinal CT scan for the cervical spine (the seven vertebrae that begin at the base of the skull), thoracic spine (the spine in the upper back and abdomen), and the lumbosacral spine (the lower spine and surrounding tissues)
  • Orbit CT scan (a scan of the eye sockets (orbits), eyes, and surrounding bones)
  • Chest CT scan

CT Scan Risks and Benefits


  • Highly effective for evaluating your entire body
  • Helping your doctor determine the stage of cancer
    (Cancer staging and diagnosis are among the top uses of a CT scan.)
  • Suitable for evaluating tiny bone structures such as those in the hands and feet and for evaluating chest and lung conditions.


  • Exposes your body to radiation.
    However, the NIH says that the risk of damage from radiation during one CT scan is minimal. People who have multiple CT scans over time may be at higher risk for radiation.
  • Harming an unborn baby, kidney damage, or an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.
    Like MRIs, most CT scans involve contrast dye to allow your internal structures to appear more clearly in the images.

CT Scan General Preparation Instructions


On the day of your appointment, please arrive 1 hour before your appointment time to register. You can print and fill out the CT forms which should speed up the process.

Preparing for a CT Scan

  • Please bring all the CT forms with you to your appointment.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home. We do have lockers but are limited in space.
  • Please wear comfortable clothing. Please avoid clothing with snaps, zippers, or other metal.
  • For Contrast Patients:
    • If your exam requires IV or Oral contrast, please do not eat or drink 4 hours before your appointment time.
    • If you have difficult veins and require IV contrast, please arrive 1 ½ hour before your scheduled time.

CT Contrast Material

Contrast may be needed for some CT scans. This can help highlight areas of your body that are being examined. The contrast helps block X-Rays which can help emphasize blood vessels, intestines, or other structures which appear white on the images.

If contrast material will be given by the following methods:

  • Oral Contrast: Liquid that contains contrast material. This may taste unpleasant.
  • Injection: Injected through a vein in your arm. You may experience feeling warm during the injection or a metallic taste in your mouth.

CT Patient Forms

For more information call 805-737-3375