Computerized Tomography (CT) or Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) uses a series of X-ray images and computer equipment to visualize the internal organs, soft tissues, blood vessels and bones of the body in various planes. In seconds the technologist can obtain hundreds and even thousands of images as thin as a credit card from a single scan. In addition, the Radiologist or technologist can create 3D images to assist the Radiologist in further visual enhancement.
Saint Joseph Mercy Health CT technologists are registered through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and have taken additional training in their Radiology sub-specialty. They work very closely with Radiologists to provide comprehensive, high quality, diagnostic studies that assist in diagnosing injury and illness.
All scanners at SJMHS utilize 64 slice and low-dose imaging technology creating very high quality images with the lowest possible radiation dose. Higher quality images mean more information for your physician to diagnose and plan the treatment for your medical condition. Lower dose means increased safety for you. CT scans are very versatile and may be utilized to visualize anything from trauma, to soft tissue detail, and organs.
Our schedule allows for flexible scheduling of outpatient appointments, 7 days a week and into the evening. Hours of availability vary by location.
In addition to CT scanning of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis and extremities, SJMHS performs more complex procedures including:
Please call 734-712-1313 or 1-800-396-1313 and fax your order to 734-712-1380 or 800-338-9865 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6p.m. to schedule your exam.
If you have questions regarding the procedure your physician has ordered, please call (734) 712-3743 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to be connected with specialized staff that can answer your questions.
Depending on your procedure, you may receive two bills.
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Monday - Friday,
8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Huron Valley Radiology, PC, 866-744-1452
Monday - Thursday,
8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
To request an estimate call 734-712-1500 or fill our web form.
Do I need an injection of contrast for my exam?
Depending on the type of procedure being done, you may receive an intravenous injection of contrast material (X-ray dye), and/or be asked to drink an oral contrast material. If your procedure requires you to drink an oral contrast, you will be informed by your physician office staff to arrive early. Some procedures require that you drink the contrast material one hour before the scan and others require a 2 hour drinking time. Please inform your physician in advance of any known allergies to intravenous contrast. If you are allergic to the contrast material, be sure to contact your physician at least 2 days in advance of your appointment so that medication can be ordered for you. Drinking plenty of water after the procedure is will help your body flush both oral and IV contrast from your system.
How should I dress for this exam?
All clothing for your exam must be free of metal, such as buttons, zippers, bras, suspenders and snaps; these items cause artifacts that obscure anatomy. It is helpful to arrive for your exam with loose fitting clothing free of any metal. If your clothing contains any of these items, the staff will ask you to change into a hospital gown and give you a locker to place your personal belongings into during the procedure. We recommend that you come to your appointment in jogging sweats with only an elastic waistline and a T-shirt free of buttons, zippers, etc. In addition, you will also be asked to remove any jewelry you are wearing.
Can I take my medications?
You may take your medications the morning of your appointment with a small amount of water. We advise that you bring a copy of your medications with you to your appointment. If you are a diabetic and are taking Metformin-containing medications, you should take them the morning of your appointment. If your study requires IV contrast, you will need to discontinue these medications for 48 hours after your procedure or until you speak with your physician. Examples: Glucophage (Metformin), Glucovance (Glyburide/Metformin), Avandamet (Rosiglitazone/Metformin), Janumet (Metformin and Sitagliptin), Metaglip (Glipizide/Metformin), Riomet, etc. If you have an insulin pump, please notify the technologist before your procedure.
If you are having a biopsy and are taking a blood thinner medication, please contact your physician. These medications should be held until after your procedure is complete. Examples: Aspirin, Coumadin, Lovenox, Plavix, Heparin, etc.
Are CT examinations painful?
No, CT imaging itself is painless. CT imaging merely requires that the patient remain still during the examination, which is very short, usually just a few minutes.
CT imaging procedures that require the patient to receive intravenous (IV) contrast material (X-ray dye) may cause slight, temporary discomfort while the needle is placed; some patients may experience a warm flush feeling during the injection or slight metallic taste in their mouth.
Are CT examinations safe?
Yes, CT imaging is considered a safe procedure. In general, the diagnostic benefit of a CT scan outweighs the risk of X-ray radiation exposure. The CT Technologist will ask you a series of questions pertaining to your health before the scan is initiated to ensure your utmost safety and provide a thorough clinical history to the Radiologist. Patients that are or could be pregnant should also let the technologist know before the procedure is started. Please discuss any concerns with your physician.
Is breast-feeding safe after an injection of IV contrast?
Yes, the American College of Radiology has determined that breastfeeding after receiving contrast material is safe. However, you may choose to pump breast milk prior to the CT procedure and store it for use during the 24-hour period following your procedure; you may choose to discard your breast milk the first 24 hours after your test. Always check with your physician for their specific recommendations.
Can I have a CT scan if I am pregnant?
If the possibility of pregnancy exists, please discuss your options with your physician in advance. He or she is best able to discuss any options that might be available. Please inform your CT technologist if you are pregnant or if there is even the remote possibility that you may be pregnant.
Can I bring a friend or relative into the CT scanner room with me?
No, CT uses radiation to produce images and only the person being imaged should be in the CT scanner room during the procedure. For CT procedures on children, one escort can stay in the CT scanner room during the procedure. A lead gown will be provided to the escort.
How long will the CT procedure take?
Depending on the type of procedure being performed, the actual procedure scan time will typically be between 10 minutes and 20 minutes, not including preparation time.
Will my insurance cover this procedure?
Please check with your insurance company prior to your appointment to verify if your procedure will be covered.
What can I do to prepare myself for the procedure?
On the day of your CT scan, please do not eat any food or drink for 4 hours prior to your CT appointment. Restricting solid foods in order to avoid stomach distress is a common safety precaution before many medical procedures. You may take necessary medications with a small amount of water.
What should I expect when having a CT scan?
Plan to arrive in the department at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment, unless you have been instructed otherwise. This will allow the necessary time to complete your paperwork. You will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire about your medical history, medications and allergies.
If you are having a CT scan of your abdomen or pelvis, you may need to arrive 1 to 2 hours before your appointment. You will be asked to drink barium, a fluid that helps enhance your intestinal tract so that the Radiologist may better visualize your internal structure and interpret your scans with increased accuracy.
How is the barium or IV contrast eliminated from the body?
The IV contrast is excreted by the kidneys and passes in the urine within a few hours. This will not color your urine. Barium administered orally passes through the intestine and is not absorbed; it is normal to see white in your stool preceding your exam. Occasionally, some patients do experience some diarrhea. This generally passes quite quickly. It is not necessary to take laxatives to eliminate barium used for a CT scan.
Will there be any after effects?
No, normal diet and activity may resume immediately after a CT scan.
When do I get the results?
A radiologist will interpret the images and a report will sent to the physician who ordered your procedure. Please follow up with your physician’s office on when and how you will receive the results of your CT / CTA procedure.
You may also gain access to your results utilizing the SJMHS Patient Portal (must be previously registered to utilize). Reports are typically available on the Patient Portal 5 days post exam.
How do I obtain a copy of my report or images?
To obtain a copy of your report or images, please contact the Imaging Results Center (IRC) at 734-712-RADS (7237) or fill out an online request for imaging results. Note: The IRC requires 24 business hour notice to fulfill your request. You will be able to pick up your material at the location you specified and will be required to present a photo ID and sign a release at the time of pickup.
How can I find out the cost of a SJMHS imaging procedure?
Please refer to the general FAQ’s for information on how to obtain price estimates for mammography procedures. Patient’s may call the SJMHS estimate line at 734-712-7392 (option 3 for facility estimates)
SJMHS also offers financial assistance program through the financial counseling department is reachable at 734-712-2009.
Who can I call if I have billing questions?
Depending on your procedure, you may receive two bills.
If you have questions about your bill from: