XRA Medical Imaging is accredited by the American College of Radiology to perform CT scanning services in Rhode Island. Find information regarding our CT service below, and our office locations where a CT scan can be performed.
A computed tomography (CT) scan combines a series of x-ray images taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images, or slices, of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan images provide more detailed information than plain x-rays do. A CT scan can be used to visualize nearly all parts of the body and is used to diagnose disease or injury as well as to plan medical, surgical, or radiation treatment.
The machine that performs the CT scan is cylindrical in shape with an opening in the middle. During the scan, the patient lies on a table with the extremity they need imaged in the middle opening of the cylinder. The machine is not closed, so if the patient is having the exam done on the abdomen, for instance, the head and feet will be exposed. During the exam, the table moves back and forth, allowing the scanner to take the necessary images and transfers them to the computer for processing and are then read by a radiologist.
Some tests require a contrast dye to be ingested before the patient comes for their appointment or injected during the test. Your doctor should inform you if this is necessary. You may pick up the ingested contrast, called barium, at any of XRA's sites that perform CT scans. If the contrast is to be injected during your exam, the technologist will insert an IV before beginning the test.
Your exam will be reviewed and read by a radiologist. A report will be generated and sent to your referring physician.
A CT scan can be used for taking images of virtually any part of the human body. Any body part can be scanned in CT, particularly brain, neck, chest, abdomen/pelvis, and lumbar spine.
If a patient has been asked to swallow barium, that will highlight the GI tract and make it easier for the radiologist to read the images. Patients may also be injected with contrast to highlight other internal organs
Prior to and on the day of your appointment, you will be asked several questions regarding your significant medical history. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to fill out the necessary paperwork for your exam. Inform the staff of any medications you are taking, especially if you are a diabetic. If you could be pregnant, are breastfeeding, or are allergic to IV contrast medium please inform the staff immediately.
You will then lie on the table, either feet or head first, depending on the exam being performed. If you are to receive contrast during your exam, the technologist will start an IV in your arm prior to or during the exam. Your doctor should inform you if this is necessary before you schedule your appointment. The table will then slowly enter the scanner and your examination will begin.
The technologist is able to communicate with you through an intercom system and will instruct you not to move during the examination. If the exam requires you to hold your breath, the technologist will let you know when and for how long this is required. It is important to follow the technologist's directions as the quality of your images will be reduced if there is motion.
Like in photography, if a subject is moving the picture will become blurry. If the technician sees motion on a scan, they may repeat that part of the study. Most studies take between 15 and 30 minutes.
If you are having a CT scan of your abdomen or pelvis, you may be given a barium solution to drink prior to your scan. This is very important as it allows the radiologist interpreting your scan to discern your intestines from possible pathology.
At XRA Medical Imaging we use only non-ionic contrast, which significantly decreases the likelihood of an adverse reaction. When scheduling your exam, if IV contrast is required, our staff will ask several questions regarding any significant medical history such as prior contrast reactions, strong allergies, cardiac, or renal disease and determine whether scanning at an outpatient facility is appropriate or whether the study should be performed in a hospital setting. We offer flavored barium for our patients' comfort, and our staff will provide you instructions on the proper way to consume it prior to your appointment.
After your CT scan, drink plenty of fluids, especially water, for the following 24 hours in order to flush the contrast from your body.
The IV injection of contrast helps our radiologists interpret your study significantly in several ways. Most importantly, it helps to accentuate vascular structures and enhance visualization of abdominal organs. It allows distinction of normal structures from abnormalities that may be more or less vascular. When scheduling your exam, if IV contrast is required, our staff will ask several questions regarding any significant medical history such as prior contrast reactions, strong allergies, cardiac, or renal disease and determine whether scanning at an outpatient facility is appropriate or whether the study should be performed in a hospital setting.
Not all CT scans require the injection of IV contrast. If IV contrast is required during your test, the technologist will inform you that they will be inserting an IV either before or during your exam prior to the exam's start. After your CT scan, drink plenty of fluids, especially water, for the following 24 hours in order to flush the contrast from your body.
At XRA Medical Imaging, our technologists and staff are sensitive to the needs of our patients and do everything we are able to ensure patients are as comfortable as possible. During the CT scan, patients are within view of the technologist and both the technologist and patient are able to communicate with each other through an intercom system.
Due to XRA's advanced helical CT scanners, claustrophobia is rarely an issue even for our most sensitive patients. Only the part of your body that is being imaged requires entering the scanner and the scans are done rapidly, so exam time is less than that of MRI.