OSF Saint Luke Medical Center

CT Scan

CT, sometimes called CAT scan, uses advanced X-ray equipment to obtain image data from different angles around the body. It then uses computer processing to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs. This provides more detailed information than traditional X-rays.

Picture this: your head, abdomen, pelvis, sinuses and more.

Many scans? Lots of different equipment? No, just one. A CT scan can do amazing things. It visualizes nearly all parts of the body and is used to diagnose disease or injury as well as to plan medical, surgical or radiation treatment. It is also an excellent way to quickly examine people who may have internal injuries or other emergencies.

Why OSF Saint Luke?

Here you’ll find the very latest CT imaging technology. Our state-of-the-art, low dose, GE Optima 660 is among the best, allowing our patients to receive the highest quality CT image with the lowest possible radiation..

In addition, for all routine CT procedures, we are able to perform specialty procedures to check out your arteries, veins and heart chambers.

How should I prepare for the CAT scan?

  • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your CT exam.
  • Metal objects can affect the image, so avoid clothing with zippers, snaps, and underwire.
  • You may also be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any removable dental work, depending on the part of the body that is being scanned.
  • You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam.
  • Women should always inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. If you are of child bearing age, 10-55, you must take a pregnancy test prior to your CT scan.

What does the equipment look like?

During a CT scan, you lie on a table inside a large doughnut-shaped ring. An X-ray tube inside the machine rotates around your body and sends small doses of radiation through it at various angles.

A CT examination often requires the use of different “contrast materials” which may be swallowed or injected through an IV. This material makes it easier to see certain tissues or blood vessels.

We take precautions to assure your safety

Before administering the contrast material, the technologist will have you fill out a screening form to assure that it is safe for you to have the contrast material injected into the IV. If you have had a history of an serious allergic reaction or you have never had any contrast before, please notify the X-Ray department. Your CT examination may last any where from fifteen to forty-five minutes.

What will I experience during the procedure?

CT scanning causes no pain, and today's faster scanners reduce the need to lie still for any length of time.

Now, about the contrast material. Some patients find the taste mildly unpleasant but most can easily tolerate it. Others report feeling a flush of heat, a metallic taste in the back of the mouth or a even mild itching. These sensations usually disappear within a minute or two.

You will be alone in the room during the scan. However, the technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A radiologist, who is a physician experienced in CT and other radiology examinations, will analyze the images. A signed report with his or her interpretation will be sent to your physician or practitioner and they will contact you regarding the results. Please note: the radiology department reads your images but does not contact you directly.

How do I make an appointment?

An order is needed from your health care provider to make an appointment for a CT scan at OSF Saint Luke.

If you have an order for yourself, or would like to refer a patient, please call OSF Saint Luke Central Scheduling at (309) 852-7550.

Contact information and hours

OSF Saint Luke Medical Center offers CT studies 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Scheduled CT studies are performed Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. If you have questions, please call the Radiology at (309) 852-7680. Our CT technologists will be happy to assist you.