Computed Tomography (CT) is a type of medical imaging technique that shows detailed images of certain body parts that needs to be studied further. It is more detailed than an x-ray scan since it shows all the layers – from muscles, bones, fat, blood vessels, organs, etc. Unlike x-rays that only provide a flat image, CT scans gives a 2-D view of the scanned body part which allows the doctors to have a good view in different angles.

Just like other medical tests, there are some things you need to do before undergoing this medical procedure. Here’s how you should prepare for a smooth and successful procedure.


Jewelleries and other metallic objects are not allowed during the scan so it is best not to wear them at all on the day. Since the patients will be asked to change into a patient gown, you can wear anything you’re comfortable with when going to the lab. Be sure to keep your belongings and valuables safe by storing them in a locker provided at the lab.

Food and Drinks

There are different kinds of CT scan – with contrast and without contrast. If your doctor ordered a scan without contrast, you can eat and drink just like the usual. However, for scans with contrast, you should fast 3 hours before the scan to allow the contrast media to work well. Although, you may still continue to drink clear fluids and take your medications before the scan.

Contrast Media Considerations

In some cases, a contrast media is needed to make a clearer picture of the part being looked into. There are some considerations when using this and your doctor will look for ways on how to do this the safest way. For example, you’ll be asked about certain allergies to some substances to know which media is safe for you to be used. Your doctor will also ask if you have some health issues which might be aggravated if you take a certain contrast media.

What to Do After a Scan?

Generally, the procedure is painless although it might feel a little uncomfortable staying still for a certain amount of time. If you have undergone a scan with contrast, you will be monitored at a certain amount of time to see if any complications will arise due to the contrast dye.

Some patients develop swelling, itching and even breathing difficulties after the procedure which needs to be addressed immediately to keep the patient safe. On the other hand, if you already returned home and noticed some changes at the IV site such as pain or swelling, it is important to inform your doctor immediately since it could be a new reaction or an infection.

Overall, if everything goes well during the procedure, there is nothing to worry much after having scanned. If your doctor hasn’t given any special instructions or recommendations, you can definitely resume back to your regular daily activities and diet.

CT scans are just one of the medical imaging techniques that are greatly useful in diagnosing health problems that are not visible through the naked eye.