CT Scan (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
During the Procedure
Most CT scans are conducted as an outpatient procedure. Since they do not require hospitalization, the patient has the test and then goes home.
After the Procedure
If the patient received a contrast injection, the IV is removed from the arm before going home. There should be no ill effects from the scan or the contrast injection. In the rare circumstance that the patient received sedation, they will be sent home once they are awake and alert. However, someone will have to drive the patient home.
The CT scan is interpreted by a radiologist, a medical doctor trained to interpret various X-ray studies. The results are forwarded to the doctor. How soon the doctor receives the report depends on the imaging center where the study is performed.
A CT scan of the neck.
When to Seek Medical Care
The reaction to the contrast is almost always immediate, so it is very rare to have a reaction after the patient leaves the facility. However, if a patient thinks they are having a delayed reaction to the contrast, they should call the facility where they had the exam.
Symptoms include itching and difficulty breathing or swallowing. If contrast leaked under the skin, the patient should look for increased redness, swelling, or pain. Patients will often be asked to come back the next day so their skin can be checked. There are no side effects of the exam itself, but patients who have multiple CT scans should discuss the radiation exposure with their physician.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/19/2016
Lawrence M. Davis, MD
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