CT Scan

What is a CT Scan?

You may be more familiar with the term CAT Scan. CT scanning (Computed Tomography) involves a special machine that uses x-ray beams to create cross-sectional images. A computer reconstructs these “slices” to produce 3-dimensional pictures of internal organs.

Why get a CT Scan?

Your doctor may recommend a CT scan when soft tissues, such as, internal organs need to be evaluated. Because the CT scanner can make a 3-D view of your organs, physicians are better able to view the size and shape of soft tissue than when traditional X-rays are used. CT imagery also is different than other imaging because it can display a combination of soft tissue, bones and blood vessels all in a single image. Radiologists perform CT scans to diagnose kidney, lung, liver, spine and blood diseases, cancer tumors and cysts, as well as blood clots, hemorrhages and infections.

What happens during a CT scan?

During a CT scan, the patient lays on a table that moves slowly through the donut-shaped opening of the scanner. Once inside, the X-ray beams create hundreds of cross-sectional pictures that represent slices of the human body. Seconds later, the computer assembles the slices into 3-D images that are interpreted by the radiologist. The test itself takes only seconds.

Typically, there is no need to wear a special gown for a CT scan. However, you must remove all jewelry and any other metal objects, such as, belts and watches. During the scan you may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds.

Depending on the type of CT scan ordered, you may be asked to fast before you exam or you may be asked to drink a carbonated liquid in order to provide a better visualization of your organs. Some exams may also require a small injection of a dye called “contrast.”

What is Different About the CT Scanner at Herrin Hospital?

The CT scanner at Herrin Hospital is one of the fastest, most powerful CT systems in the US. Studies like chest exams, which used to take 20 to 30 minutes to perform, can now be completed in just 20 seconds. As mentioned before, a CT scanner gathers “picture slices” of the human body. The CT scanner at Herrin Hospital can acquire more of those anatomical slices than any other system thanks to a new technology called multi-slice imaging. As a result, the scanner captures images of the body’s rapidly moving organs like the heart and lungs, which appear blurry when scanned by traditional CT scanners. This offers more accurate images so the radiologist can make a more accurate diagnosis.



Physicians providing services at our hospitals are independent contractors with privileges to admit and care for patients at our hospitals.

Herrin Hospital

201 South 14th St
Herrin, IL 62948

618-942-2171 ext. 35400