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How Long Does a CT Scan Take?

How Long Does a CT Scan Take?

A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan is a medical procedure that allows doctors to see inside your body. They are commonly used to diagnose a variety of disorders within the brain, spine, extremities and vascular system. CT scanning is also used to perform needle guided biopsy and other interventional procedures.

CT scanning is fast, painless, noninvasive and accurate

In an emergency room, people can be scanned quickly so doctors can rapidly assess, diagnose and treat their condition. Examinations typically take between 15 and 30 minutes of total time on the scanning table depending on the type of preparation needed and whether it includes the use of a contrast material (a substance that is either injected into the vascular system or taken orally to enhance visibility of internal structures).

The scan itself may take less than a minute to complete.

What can a CT scan detect?

Your doctor may order a CT scan for a number of reasons, including:

  • Complex bone fractures and tumors
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Emphysema
  • Liver masses
  • Internal bleeding
  • Tumors
  • Blood clots
  • Excess fluid
  • Infection

Benefits of a CT scan

CT scans rank as one of the top five medical developments in the last 40 years. Here are the top five benefits of a CT scan

  • Determine when surgeries are necessary
  • Reduce the need for exploratory surgery
  • Improve cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Reduce the length of hospital stays
  • Guide treatment of injuries, cardiac disease and stroke
  • Help show surgeons exactly where to operate during surgery

What’s the difference between a CT and MRI scan?

CT and MRI scans are different procedures and they have different applications depending on what your physician is trying to identify or diagnose. CT scans utilize radiation whereas an MRI uses a strong magnetic field. MRI is sensitive to patient movement and requires that you lay very still for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the procedure. CT scans are much less sensitive to patient movement and the actual scan generally takes only a few minutes compared to MRI. Patients that have implanted medical devices such as pacemakers, stents, coils, etc., can have either a CT or MRI but there are precautions and you will need to consult your physician.

Pomona Valley Health Centers offer conveniently located CT scans in Pomona, Chino Hills, Claremont and La Verne. Call 909-469-9395 to schedule an appointment today.