You have been scheduled for a CT/CAT scan on:
Date: ____________________________
Time: ____________________________

  • UW Hospital 600 Highland Ave
    Take the Atrium elevators to 3rd floor
    Check in at the G3/3 reception desk

  • East Madison Hospital
    4602 Eastpark Blvd
    Madison, WI 53718

  • 1 S. Park Medical Center
    1 S. Park St
    Madison, WI 53715

  • UW Health Digestive Center
    750 University Row
    Madison, WI 53705

To cancel or change your visit, call: 608-263-XRAY (9729) ext. #2 for CT.


A CT/CAT scan (computed tomography), uses x-rays to make detailed pictures of the inside of the body. A CT is very useful in helping doctors look closely at certain areas.

A CT scan can be used to study all parts of the body, chest, belly, pelvis, head, neck, arm or leg. It can also take pictures of organs, blood vessels, bones, and the spinal cord.

Before the Scan

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing.

  • Avoid wearing anything with snaps or zippers.

  • Wear a sports bra (if needed) with no hooks or snaps if you are having a scan of the chest.

  • If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell the doctor or x-ray tech before the scan.

During the Scan

CT scans usually last around 30 minutes. The time it takes will depend on the part of body being scanned. CT scans are painless.

  • You will lay flat on a table that is part of the scanner.

  • The table will move slowly into the opening.

  • The scanner sends x-rays through the area of the body being look at.

  • It creates pictures on a computer.

We may give contrast before the exam. This will help create better pictures. The type of contrast will depend on the body part being looked at.

  • Oral Contrast- When taking pictures of the abdomen, we will ask you to drink contrast. This allows us to see the stomach, colon, and bowel better. Plan to drink at least 2 glasses of contrast for up to 1 hour before your exam.

  • IV Contrast- We may inject contrast through an IV to highlight the tissues in the body, blood vessels, or organs.

  • Enema- In rare cases we may need to give contrast by an enema.

If contrast is used:

  • You may feel flushed and have a metallic taste while getting IV contrast.

  • You may also feel as though you have urinated, but you didn’t.

Contrast Allergy

If you have had a reaction to contrast or iodine in the past, let your doctor know. They doctor will give you 2 different medicines. This medicine will prevent an allergic reaction.

You will need to prepare for 12 hours, and timing is very important. If the directions for the medicine is not followed correctly, we may have to reschedule the scan.

Blood Tests

A blood test may be needed before the scan. This blood test will check kidney function. We will need to check your creatinine level if you have:

  • Personal history of renal disease

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

  • History of AKI Dialysis

  • Kidney surgery

  • Kidney ablation

  • Albuminuria

  • History of diabetes mellitus

  • Taken Metformin or drugs containing Metformin

Radiology or your doctor will decide if a blood test is needed. The blood test can be done before the scan or the same day. If it is done before, bring the results with you. You may have to come one hour early to do the blood test the same day.

If you have diabetes and take any of the medicines listed below, we may ask you to stop taking them for 48 hours (2 days) after your scan. Talk with your doctor about other ways to control your blood sugar during this time. You may take these medicines before your scan but not after. These medicines include:

  • Advandamet

  • ActoPlus Met

  • Fortamet

  • Glucovance

  • Glumetza

  • Glyburide

  • Janumet

  • Metaglip

  • Metformin

  • Riomet

After the Scan

Scan results will be sent to the doctor who ordered the scan. If you have not received a report after 2 weeks, call your doctor’s office. If you have questions or concerns before or after the scan, call your doctor or clinic.

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