Computerized Tomography, or CT imaging is a simple and safe exam. The scanner takes a series of pictures and can detect many conditions that do not show up on conventional X-rays. Some CT scans need radiographic dye that is injected or given by mouth to enhance the images by outlining blood vessels or showing organs of the body.
If you come in for a CT Exam, you will be asked to lie quietly on the scanning table during the CT scan. The body part being scanned will be put in the middle of the doughnut-shaped scanner ring. You will feel the scanner table move every few seconds as it produces a series of images necessary to complete your exam. You will be asked to lay on the exam table for one to 20 minutes depending on the procedure.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI is a special kind of imaging that allows doctors to see detailed pictures in the body without the use of X-rays. These three-dimensional images of the body can lead to early detection and treatment of disease. The MRI exam is a simple and doesn't hurt.
If you come in for an MRI, you will be asked to lie quietly on the "scanning" table. During the exam, you can listen to music via headphones.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about CT and MRI: