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Computerized Axial Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan for Radiation Treatment Planning (6092)

Computerized Axial Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan for Radiation Treatment Planning (6092) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Cancer, BMT, Hematology


Computerized Axial Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan for Radiation
Treatment Planning

A CT scan is a type of x-ray. A CT scan
done in Radiation Oncology is used for
treatment planning. This type of CT is
looked at only by persons within the
department. This type of scan is not used to
diagnose disease.

You may need intravenous (IV) contrast for
the CT scan. If you have an allergy to IV
contrast or dye, iodine, or shellfish tell the
nurse or therapist when you arrive. IV
contrast is a clear liquid injected into an IV
during the scan. As it goes through your
blood stream, it highlights your blood
vessels and body organs. Some patients
getting IV contrast, may feel warm or have a
strange taste in their mouth. These are
normal side effects that only last for a few

On the day of your scan, register in the
Town Square near the hospital/clinic
entrances. Then take the K or WIMR
elevator down to the basement. Follow the
signs to check in at the Radiation
Oncology Reception desk.

Your CT scan for radiation
treatment planning has been
scheduled as follows:

Before the Scan
Your health record will be reviewed. We
will ask you about your prior scans, allergies
and medicines. We may need to get a
creatinine blood test. This test shows how
well your kidneys are working. If you need
this test, it will need to be done before the
CT scan. Do not eat or drink anything for
4 hours before your scan. You may take
your medicines with a sip of water.

If you are pregnant, or think you might
be pregnant, tell us before the scan is
done. Your doctor may order a
pregnancy test if you are of childbearing
age. Nursing mothers should not breast-
feed for 24 hours after getting IV
contrast. They should also pump and
discard their breast milk for 24 hours.

Let us know if being in confined spaces is
difficult for you. We can give you
medicine to help you relax. If you take this
type of medicine for the scan, you will
need someone to drive you home. You
should not drive or use dangerous equipment
for 24 hours.

If you have diabetes and are taking any
of the pills listed below you may be
asked to withold these medicines for 48
hours (2 days) after your scan is done.
Please talk with your doctor about other
ways to control your blood sugar during
this time. You may take these medicines
before your scan but not after.

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Tell us if you take insulin. If your CT scan
is scheduled early in the morning, you may
need to take a smaller dose of insulin. If
your scan is in the late morning or early
afternoon, you may be able to eat early and
take your normal insulin dose. We can
check your blood sugar when you are in the
department. We have juice, soda and
crackers for you if you need them.

If you are to get IV contrast for your scan, a
nurse will put a small IV into your arm or
hand. Wear clothing with loose sleeves. In
most cases a PICC line or Port-a-Cath
cannot be used for IV contrast. This is
because the contrast is injected quickly,
under high pressure. The high pressure can
damage the device. Some ports (Power
Ports) can be used for IV contrast.

We may ask you to remove some of your
clothing for the scan. Clothing that contains
metal (jeans, under wire bras) may also need
to be removed. You will be given a hospital
gown, robe,

During the Scan
You will lie on a narrow table. The table
will move in and out of the opening in the
scanner. It takes about 30-60 minutes to
complete the scan. A lot of this time is used
for getting you into the right position.
The scan itself takes only a few minutes.
During the scan, you will be alone in the
room. We will be able to see you through a
window. We will be able to hear you
through a speaker. You will need to lie
quietly during the scan. You may be asked
to “take a deep breath and hold” during part
of the scan. In most cases there is no pain or
discomfort during the scan. If you need
something, or have any problems during the
scan, just speak up as we will be listening
for any concerns.

After the Scan
Your IV will be taken out. You will need to
drink 2 quarts of fluids (no caffeine) over
the next 24 hours. These fluids will flush
the contrast out of your body. If you have
problems taking fluids please let us know.

The images from your scan will be reviewed
by the doctors and physics staff. Together
they will plan your radiation treatments.
This will take a few days. You will get a
call telling you of the date and time when
treatments will start. On your first treatment
day, plan to arrive 15 minutes early. You
will be told which treatment machine to go

Questions or Concerns
Please call if you have any questions or
concerns. The phone number for the
Radiation Oncology Clinic is (608) 263-
8500. If you live outside of the Madison
area, call 1-800-323-8942. If the clinic is
closed, your call will be transferred to our
answering service. Ask to speak to the
radiation doctor on call. The doctor will call
you back.