How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Depending on which part of your body is being scanned, you may be asked to:

  • Take off some or all of your clothing and wear a hospital gown
  • Remove metal objects, such as a belt, jewelry, dentures and eyeglasses, which might interfere with image results
  • Refrain from eating or drinking for a few hours before your scan

Contrast material

A special dye called a contrast material is needed for some CT scans, to help highlight the areas of your body being examined. The contrast material blocks X-rays and appears white on images, which can help emphasize blood vessels, intestines or other structures.

Contrast material might be given to you:

  • By mouth. If your esophagus or stomach is being scanned, you may need to swallow a liquid that contains contrast material. This drink may taste unpleasant.
  • By injection. Contrast agents can be injected through a vein in your arm to help your gallbladder, urinary tract, liver or blood vessels stand out on the images. You may experience a feeling of warmth during the injection or a metallic taste in your mouth.
  • By enema. A contrast material may be inserted in your rectum to help visualize your intestines. This procedure can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Preparing your child for a scan

If your infant or toddler is having a CT scan, the doctor may recommend a sedative to keep your child calm and still. Movement blurs the images and may lead to inaccurate results. Ask your doctor how to prepare your child.

Mar. 25, 2015