Basic Information on Getting a CT Scan at an Urgent Care Facility
Getting a CT scan at an urgent care facility can be a trying experience for some patients. However, you can rest assured your experience will be a pleasant one. Here is what you can expect when you come in for the procedure.
What It Is
A CT (computerized tomography) scan provides urgent care doctors with a cross-sectional image of your body's soft tissues and bones, giving them much more information than they can get from x-rays alone. It is primarily used to examine people who have suffered some sort of internal trauma due to a car wreck or some other sort of accident, but it also has several other uses.
For example, it can help your doctor diagnose any disorders that may be affecting your bones or muscles or determine the exact location of an infection, blood clot, or a tumor. CT scans also help guide doctors through biopsies, surgeries, and other procedures, and can help detect problems such as heart disease, cancer, liver masses, and others.
What to Expect
Some people compare a CT scanner to a big donut. You'll be on a table that slides through a small tunnel surrounded by a gantry. If you're having pictures taken of your head, it may be nestled in a special type of cradle so you remain still. During the scan, the table will move slowly through the tunnel as the gantry rotates.
All the while, dozens of images will be taken of your body, during which you'll hear clicking, buzzing, and whirring noises. You will be in contact with a technologist who may ask you to hold your breath periodically so that the images are as clear as possible.
After the Scan
Once your exam is over you should be able to quickly resume your regular routine. There is a chance that you may have been injected with a dye to help provide contrast to the images. If that's the case, you may be asked to stay in the office for a short while just to make sure you feel alright.
You'll probably need to drink a lot of fluids so that your kidneys can take the contrast dye out of your body. If you are breastfeeding, it is possible that the contrast dye could be passed to your child, so you may want to pump milk and save it 24-48 hours before your appointment. Plan on bottle-feeding your baby until a few hours have gone by after the test.