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Computerized Tomography (CT) Test Preparation at UPMC in Central Pa.

Computerized tomography (CT) scans use low-dose radiation to provide clear, detailed pictures of your internal organs and tissues. As part of our commitment to providing high-quality imaging care, our imaging staff aims to make your procedure as relaxed and stress-free as possible.

The following information will help you prepare for your CT scan:

Before Your CT Scan

There are two types of CT scans—those done with contrast, and those done without contrast. Your preparation instructions will be different depending on which type of CT scan you are scheduled to have.

If you are scheduled to have a CT scan without contrast, there is no special preparation before your exam. Unless otherwise directed by your physician, you may continue to take medication and eat as you normally would.

If you are scheduled to have a CT scan with contrast, you may need to follow special instructions but not all contrast studies require a fast or oral contrast.

If you do have special instructions they may include:

  • Do not eat or drink for 4 hours before your CT scan
  • Arrive 2 hours before your scheduled CT scan to drink a special liquid that will help the technologist see your stomach and bowels
  • Have blood tests performed several days before your CT scan, if your physician requires them
  • NOTE: If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, it is very important that you tell your imaging technologist before your CT scan starts. Exposure to radiation can be harmful to an unborn baby.
  • You should come to the imaging facility wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that do not have any metal snaps or buttons.
  • Before your CT scan starts, our imaging technologists will ask you questions about your health and surgical history. You will also have an opportunity to ask our imaging staff any questions that you may have about the procedure.

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