Our CT scans are a highly effective tool used to evaluate detailed images of the body, displaying organs, bones, and tissues with exceptional clarity. 

With the expertise of our radiologists, we efficiently interpret patient images, ensuring they receive the best possible care through advanced imaging techniques.

At Valley Radiology, our CT scans are cost-effective and thorough, performed by expert technicians in a welcoming atmosphere at our clinics or affiliated locations throughout the area. 

We prioritize patient comfort and strive to deliver exceptional service during your time with us.

What is a CT Scan?

A computed tomography scan or CT scan is a medical imaging procedure that produces a sequence of detailed cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. 

It provides a more comprehensive view than traditional X-rays, allowing doctors and specialists to examine specific and targeted organs, bones, soft tissues, or blood vessels in great detail.

What Does a CT Scan Show?

A CT scan procedure shows detailed images of the inside of the body, providing valuable information about various structures and potential conditions. 

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “what can a CT scan detect?” it is essential to know that this type of imaging reveals information about organs, bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues. The results allow doctors to examine these structures' size, shape, and position within your body. 

Some of the critical things shown include:

  • Injuries
  • Tumors and Abnormal Growths
  • Infections and Inflammatory Conditions
  • Blood Vessel Abnormalities
  • Brain Abnormalities
  • Lung Conditions
  • Spinal Problems
  • Kidney and Bladder Stones

Types of CT Scans

CT scans are offered at Angier Imaging and VRI in Fayetteville for the following areas of the body:

  • Abdomen and Pelvis - An abdominal CT scan is an imaging method that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the belly area.
  • Head - A head or brain CT examines the various structures of the brain to look for a mass, stroke, area of bleeding, or blood vessel abnormality. It is also sometimes used to look at the skull.
  • Sinuses - A sinus CT scan diagnoses sinus disease and looks for a narrowing or obstruction in the sinus drainage pathway.
  • Spine - A spine CT scan is commonly used to look for a herniated disc or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) in people with neck, arm, back, and leg pain. It is also used to identify a fracture or break in the spine.
  • Chest - CT of the chest is frequently used to further study an abnormality on a plain chest X-ray. It is also often used to look for enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Neck and Throat - A neck CT checks the soft tissues of the neck and is frequently used to study a lump or mass in the neck or look for enlarged lymph nodes or glands.
  • Heart - A computed tomography angiogram (CT angiogram) is a test that uses X-rays to provide detailed pictures of the heart and the blood vessels that go to the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, head, neck, legs, and arms.

When is a CT Scan Used?

CT scans are comprehensive imaging services used in various medical situations to aid in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring of various health conditions. 

Some common scenarios include:

  • Trauma and Emergency Cases
  • Diagnosis of Various Medical Conditions
  • Cancer Diagnosis and Staging
  • Monitoring Treatment Progress
  • Guiding Medical Procedures
  • Evaluation of Blood Vessels
  • Preoperative Planning
  • Evaluation of Head Injuries
  • Abdominal and Pelvic Pain

In addition to this, CT scans can detect:

  • Fractures and Bone Injuries
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Tumors and Masses
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung Cancer
  • Brain Abnormalities
  • Strokes
  • Herniated Discs and Spinal Fractures
  • Appendicitis
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney Stones
  • Liver Tumors
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Aneurysms
  • Arterial Blockages
  • Joint Problems and Arthritis
  • Abnormalities in the Gastrointestinal Tract 
  • Coronary Artery Disease

How Does a CT Scan Work?

If you or a loved one needs imaging, you may wonder, “What happens during a CT scan?”

​​During a CT scan, a patient lies on a motorized table that moves into the center of the CT scanner. Inside the scanner, an X-ray tube emits a narrow beam of X-rays while detectors on the opposite side measure the X-rays passing through the body.

As the scanner rotates around the patient, it captures multiple X-ray images from different angles in milliseconds. The detectors record the intensity of the X-rays that pass through the body, creating raw data representing the absorption of X-rays by various tissues and structures.

The raw data is processed using a mathematical technique called "tomographic reconstruction." This analysis creates cross-sectional slices (tomographic images) of the body, providing a detailed view of internal structures.

The resulting images are displayed on a monitor, where radiologists and doctors interpret them to diagnose medical conditions or assess injuries. 

What are the Benefits of a CT Scan?

A CT scan offers several benefits for both patient and doctor. 

One of the primary advantages is the generation of highly detailed cross-sectional images of the body, providing doctors with a comprehensive view of internal structures, organs, and tissues in a non-invasive and rapid manner.

The level of detail allows for accurate and precise diagnoses of a wide range of medical conditions enabling timely and appropriate medical interventions.

Being a non-invasive procedure, CT scans do not require surgery or instruments to be inserted into the body, which reduces the risk of complications and shortens recovery times. 

Patients typically experience minimal discomfort as they only need to lie still on the table while the scanning process takes place.

Another advantage is the versatility of CT scans. They can be used to evaluate various body parts, including the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities, making them valuable for diagnosing various medical conditions. 

Additionally, CT scans are excellent guidance tools for medical procedures, such as biopsies and drainage, ensuring accurate targeting and minimizing potential risks.

For cancer diagnosis, CT scans are crucial in detecting and staging tumors, providing essential information for treatment planning. 

In emergencies, CT scans are indispensable for rapidly evaluating injuries and determining the best action for immediate medical care. 

CT Scan Side Effects

A CT scan is generally considered safe with minimal to low risk. Some potential side effects to be aware of include:

  • Radiation exposure, especially for pregnant women or children 
  • Allergic reactions to contrast material 
  • Contrast-Induced nephropathy 
  • Anxiety and claustrophobia

CT scans are often harmless but crucial for diagnosing and monitoring various medical conditions. Before you begin your procedure, your doctor should carefully weigh the benefits against potential risks.

CT Scan Preparation

The steps to prepare for your CT scan may vary based on the specific type of scan you need and the area of the body being examined. 

However, here are some general guidelines for preparation:

  • Before the procedure, inform your doctor about any medical conditions, allergies, or previous reactions to the contrast material and any medication you take. Also, let them know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you are anxious or claustrophobic, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider beforehand so that they can offer strategies to help you relax.
  • For some scans, such as those of the abdomen or pelvis, you may be asked to fast for a few hours before the procedure. Verify with your doctor before the procedure day.
  • If your CT scan requires oral contrast material, you may need to drink it before your procedure. Some scans may require intravenous contrast material during the procedure. 

In addition to these preparation steps, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any metal objects, such as jewelry or dentures, as they can affect the scan's quality.

During the procedure, it's crucial to remain as still as possible to avoid blurring the images.

It is essential to know that your healthcare provider will provide specific pre-scan instructions based on the type of CT scan you need. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully to ensure the best outcome. 

Frequently Asked Questions about CT Scans: Answered

If you or a loved one are preparing for a CT scan or have questions before deciding on one, we are here to help. Here we'll provide concise answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, covering everything from cost to results and safety. 

Browse our FAQs below.

How Long Does a CT Scan Take? 

The duration of a CT scan ranges from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the specific area of the body being scanned and the complexity of the examination requirements.

How Much Does a CT Scan Cost? 

The short answer is that it depends. The cost of a CT scan can vary widely depending on factors such as the location, the healthcare facility, the specific type of scan. whether contrast material is used and insurance factors.

It's essential to check with your healthcare provider to get an accurate cost estimate. Additionally, if you have health insurance, the coverage and out-of-pocket expenses will depend significantly on your specific policy.

Can a CT Scan Detect Cancer? 

Yes, a CT scan can detect various types of cancer. However, it's important to note that they may not always be definitive in diagnosing cancer. Further tests, such as biopsies or other imaging studies, may be needed for final diagnosis.

How Long Do CT Scan Results Take? 

The time it takes to receive results can vary depending on the healthcare facility's protocols and the urgency of the situation. 

The radiologist often interprets the CT scan images and generates a report shortly after the scan is completed. This report is then sent to the referring healthcare provider, who will discuss the results with the patient during a follow-up appointment.

The results may be available for emergency cases within a few hours or even immediately.

Can You Eat Before a CT Scan? 

Whether you can eat before a CT scan depends on the specific type of scan you receive. Sometimes fasting is required, while other times it may not be necessary. Follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider before, during, and after your scan.

How Much Does a CT Scan Cost Without Insurance? 

CT scans can range from approximately $180 - $700 or more without insurance. Speak with your healthcare provider to discuss payment options for your procedure if you do not have health insurance. 

Are CT Scans Safe? 

Yes, CT scans are generally considered a safe, minimally-invasive imaging exam.

Why Do You Have to Fast Before a CT Scan? 

Fasting before a CT scan is not required in all cases.

You may be asked to fast if you receive a scan of the abdomen or pelvis. 

The main reason for fasting is to obtain clear and accurate images of the organs in that area. 

When you fast, the stomach and intestines are empty, reducing the presence of food and gas that could interfere with the imaging process. This helps ensure that the CT scan results are not obstructed by the contents of the digestive system, allowing healthcare professionals to make more accurate diagnoses. 

Can I Drink Water Before a CT Scan of Abdomen? 

Generally drinking a very small amount of water with needed medications before an abdomen CT is usually safe and allowed. You do not want to drink a large amount of water if you are receiving IV contrast during your CT scan as this may induce nausea and vomiting which could affect the exam.

Speak with your healthcare provider or contact our imaging center to determine the cost of having a CT scan without insurance coverage. 

Schedule a CT Scan with Valley Radiology

For over 50 years, Valley Radiology's unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional imaging services has earned them a reputation for providing compassionate care in a patient-centered environment. We are your answer to “CT scan near me” and are here for you every step of the way.

If you need diagnostic imaging from a team of experts in Angier or Fayetteville, we can offer you state-of-the-art technology at one of our convenient locations. Please note that a doctor’s referral is required for all CT scans.

If your healthcare provider has sent a referral for your CT scan, we will contact you shortly to schedule your appointment. Alternatively, call Angier Imaging at (919) 331-2001 or Valley Regional Imaging at (910) 323-2209 to schedule an appointment. You may also contact us online for further assistance. 

VR Angier Imaging Center is generally able to offer same day or next day appointments for CT scans depending on the circumstances surrounding the exam.