What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During the lung CT scan

During a low-dose CT scan of the lungs, you lie on your back on a long table. You may be given a pillow to make you more comfortable. Straps may be placed on your body to keep you still and hold you in the proper position.

The technologist who runs your scan will move to a separate room where he or she can still see you and talk with you.

You'll be asked to lie very still as the table slides through the center of a large machine that creates the images of your lungs. The table passes through the machine initially to determine the starting point for the scan.

When the machine is ready to start the scan, you may be asked to hold your breath briefly in order to create a clear picture of your lungs. The table will move slowly through the machine as the images are created. The machine may make knocking or clicking noises.

Expect your appointment to last about a half hour, though the actual scan takes less than a minute.

After the lung CT scan

When your low-dose CT scan is complete, you can change back into your clothes and go about your day.

The images created during the scan are compiled by a computer and reviewed by a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions with imaging tests (radiologist).

Apr. 10, 2014