What Is a CT?
A CT exam is a test using special X-ray equipment that takes clearer, more detailed pictures than traditional X-rays. A CT machine rotates to take X-ray images from different angles around your body. A computer puts these images together for a radiologist to read.
We perform many types of CT exams including cardiac CT, CTA, CT colonography, dental CT and low-dose CT for lung screening. Most exams take less than 15 minutes on the scanner. Some exams can take longer.
Mass General Imaging offers full cardiac CT services in Boston. A cardiac CT scan is designed to detect the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries. The radiologists reading the scans partner with the Mass General Corrigan Minehan Heart Center to deliver the highest level of cardiac care.
Cardiac Scoring CT
Mass General Imaging offers cardiac scoring CT exams at many of our imaging centers. A cardiac scoring CT scan is designed to detect the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries.
Mass General Imaging offers CTA services in Boston and other community locations. This type of exam uses CT technology to better examine blood vessels.
Mass General Imaging offers CT colonography in Boston and Waltham. This type of exam produces a 3D view of the colon to screen for abnormal growths of tissue, or polyps.
Mass General Imaging offers dental CT imaging in Chelsea and Waltham. The 3D images help dentists and oral surgeons plan implant procedures.
Low Dose CT
Mass General Imaging offers lung screening using low-dose CT scans (LDCT) in Boston, Chelsea, Danvers and Waltham. This exam is used to screen patients at high risk for lung cancer.
CT and Radiation Dose
Learn about the many ways we minimize radiation dose at Mass General Imaging.
How to Prepare for a CT
- CT Screening Form - Starting a week before your CT appointment, you can fill out the CT screening form in Patient Gateway. Select Questionnaires under Health Tools. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up now. You can also answer the screening form questions when we call to confirm your appointment or when you check in.
- Eating & Drinking - Please do not eat solid food two hours before your appointment. Please drink plenty of fluids such as water or clear soup. Your doctor's office can tell you if you have any other restrictions.
- Contrast - You may need contrast for your CT. There are two kinds: the kind you drink in the waiting room (oral contrast) and the kind you get through an IV (IV contrast). Contrast helps us see the images more clearly. We can usually tell you before your appointment if you need contrast. Sometimes we get information on the day of your exam that changes how we image you and if you need contrast.
- Clothing - If you can, try to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing with no metal like zippers or underwire in bras. Metal can blur the images. We may ask you to change into hospital attire for clearer images.
- Valuables - We suggest you leave your valuables at home so you don’t have to worry about them. You can keep your things with you during your exam.
- Children - Children are not allowed in the exam room. If you need to bring kids, please bring someone to watch them in the waiting room.
What to Expect at a CT Exam
Find out what happens when you come to Mass General Imaging for your CT exam. During COVID, we are taking unprecedented steps to keep our patients safe. We have adjusted our operations and physical space so you may notice some enhanced safety measures when you visit.
Use these patient resources to learn more about getting a CT at Mass General. You can contact us if you have any questions.