CT - Computed Tomography - "CAT scan" and CT Arthography

CT scans in St. Louis


Computed Tomography or CT creates highly detailed images of the inside of the body.  Unlike a traditional x-ray which shows subtle outlines of the organs, CT is able to show the organ in detail. The images are created by an x-ray unit that rotates around the patient. In some cases a contrast material is used to enhance the images of the inside of the body.  These images can then be interpreted by a radiologist on a computer monitor.  CT imaging provides excellent anatomic information.

Imaging Areas

arms and legs, blood, blood vessels, bone, brain, breast, lungs, children, abdomen, gall bladder, head, neck and thyroid, heart, hormone, joints, kidney, pelvis, liver, muscles and tendons, pancreas, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovary

Typical Preparations

Follow any pre-test instructions given to you. If possible, do not wear clothes that contain metal, such as a zipper or metal snaps. If you wear clothes with metal, you may be asked to change into a gown.

If you are going to have a CT without contrast dye:There are are no changes necessary in your daily routine before this exam.

If you are going to undergo a CT with a contrast dye:Drink lots of water the day before your exam. This helps clear contrast from your body.

The day of your CT exam with a contrast dye: Stop eating and drinking two hours before your appointment. Take your medications as usual. It’s okay to take a few sips of water. Bring a list of your current medications. If you have diabetes, bring a snack in case you experience a blood-sugar drop.

Please let us know if you:

  • Have any iodine allergy or have a history of reactions to contrast dyes
  • Are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • Are in renal failure or have a history of kidney disease
  • Have diabetes and take oral medication
  • *Nursing Mothers

    Below is the American College of Radiology’s recommendation for nursing mothers who receive CT contrast.

    Because of the very small percentage of iodinated contrast medium that is excreted into the breast milk and absorbed by the infant’s gut, we believe that the available data suggest that it is safe for the mother and infant to continue breast-feeding after receiving such an agent. Ultimately, an informed decision to temporarily stop breast-feeding should be left up to the mother after these facts are communicated. If the mother remains concerned about any potential ill effects to the infant, she may abstain from breast-feeding from the time of contrast administration for a period of 12 to 24 hours. There is no value to stop breast feeding beyond 24 hours. The mother should be told to express and discard breast milk from both breasts during that period. In anticipation of this, she may wish to use a breast pump to obtain milk before the contrast-enhanced study to feed the infant during the 24-hour period following the examination. Source: ACR website http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/PDF/QualitySafety/Resources/Contrast%20Manual/2013_Contrast_Media.pdf/#2013_Contrast_Media_Manual.indd:.27756:10190

    If you are going to have CT arthography: There are no changes necessary to your daily routine before this test. Take you usual medications and follow your usual diet.

    Please let us know if you are:

    • Allergic to contrast dye (iodine) or local anesthetics (e.g. Lidocaine, Novocaine, Marcaine, or Bupivacaine)
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Claustrophobic

    Offices of Service & Attending Physicians

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