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A CT scan is a type of x-ray. You will need to have a CT scan in Radiation Oncology which will help us plan your treatment. Only those within this department will look at this CT. We do not use this type of scan to diagnose disease.
You may need IV contrast for the CT scan. If you need IV contrast for your scan, a nurse will put a small IV into your arm or hand. Wear clothing with loose sleeves. In most cases a PICC line or Port-a-Cath cannot be used for IV contrast. This is because we inject the contrast quickly, under high pressure. The high pressure can damage the device. We can use some ports (Power Ports) for IV contrast.
If you have an allergy to IV contrast or dye or iodine, tell the nurse or therapist when you arrive. IV contrast is a clear liquid injected into an IV during the scan. As it goes through your blood stream, it highlights your blood vessels and body organs. You may feel warm or have a strange taste in their mouth. These are normal side effects that only last for a few seconds.
On the day of your scan, register in the Town Square near the clinic entrance. Then, take the K or WIMR elevator down to the basement. Follow the signs to check in at the Radiation Oncology Reception desk.
Before the Scan
We will review your health record and ask you about any prior scans, allergies and medicines. We may need to get a creatinine blood test. This test shows how well your kidneys are working. If you need this test, you will have it before the CT scan. You may take your medicines with a sip of water.
If you are pregnant, or think you might be pregnant, tell us before the scan. Your doctor may order a pregnancy test. If you are nursing or breast/chest feeding, do not feed for 24 hours after getting IV contrast. Pump and discard the milk for 24 hours.
Let us know if you have trouble being in confined spaces. We can give you medicine to help you relax. If you take this type of medicine for the scan, you will need someone to drive you home. You should not drive or use heavy equipment for 24 hours.
If you have diabetes and are taking metformin or drugs that contain metformin, we may ask you to stop these medicines for 48 hours (2 days) after your scan is done. Please talk with your doctor about other ways to control your blood sugar during this time.
We may ask you to remove some of your clothing for the scan. You may also need to remove clothing that contains metal (jeans, under wire bras). We will give you a gown and robe.
During the Scan
You will lie on a narrow table. The table will move in and out of the opening in the scanner. The scan takes about 30-60 minutes to complete. We use most of this to get you into the right position.
The scan itself takes only a few minutes. During the scan, you will be alone in the room. We will be able to see you through a window and hear you through a speaker. You will need to lie quietly during the scan. We may ask you to “take a deep breath and hold” during part of the scan. You should not have any pain during the scan. If you need something, or have any problems during the scan, just speak up.
After the Scan
We will take out your IV. You will need to drink 2 quarts of fluids (avoid caffeine) over the next 24 hours. These fluids will flush the contrast out of your body. If you have problems taking fluids, please let us know.
Doctors and physics staff will review the images from your scan. They will plan your radiation treatments. This will take a few days. You will get a call telling you of the date and time when treatments will start. On your first treatment day, plan to arrive 15 minutes early.
Who to Call
Please call if you have any questions or concerns.
Radiation Oncology Clinic
(608) 263-8500 or (800) 232-8942
If the clinic is closed, your call will be transferred to our paging operator. Ask to speak to the radiation doctor on call. Give your name and number with area code. The doctor will call you back.