Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

What is computed tomography?

Computed tomography, commonly known as a CT scan, uses X-rays and computers to produce images of a cross-section of the body. The patient must lie as still as possible as the table moves through the large, donut-shaped scanning device. Movement could blur the images produced by the scanner.

Before the test

Please be aware that correct preparation is very important for the test to be performed properly.

On the day of the test
During the test

After the contrast agent is injected, you might feel flushed, or you might have a metallic taste in your mouth. These are common reactions. If you experience shortness of breath or any unusual symptoms, please tell the technologist.

After the test

Generally, you can resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.

The results of your CT scan should be available to your doctor within 24 hours after the test, Monday through Friday. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.



This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit or This document was last reviewed on: 1/14/2014