CT Neck

Your doctor has requested a computed tomography scan (sometimes referred to as a CT or CAT scan) of your neck. A CT scan uses X-ray technology and advanced computer analysis to create detailed pictures of the body. Cedars-Sinai's S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center has a team of specialists, led by Barry D. Pressman, MD, who focus on these types of scans.

Before Arriving for Your Procedure

Patients who are diabetic and taking Glucophage will need clearance from their referring physician before the exam.

If your exam includes a contrast dye, you will be instructed not to eat or drink anything 3 hours prior to your exam. You can drink clear liquids, unless you are on restricted fluids. Not all scans use a contrast dye - in those that do, it is given through an injection. The dye improves the image quality by highlighting certain structures, such as arteries, and making them more visible on the scan.

Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home and wear comfortable clothing.

Although we do not anticipate any delay in your scheduled appointment, we recommend that you bring a book, a magazine or a music player to help pass any time you have to wait.

After Arriving

A radiology nurse or technologist will ask you a few questions regarding your medical history.

If you are receiving contrast, a nurse or technologist will insert a small IV in your arm.

You must inform the technologist, radiology nurse and/or physician of any allergies you may have before your exam.

Below: A CT vessel analysis of the internal carotid artery in the neck with lesion measurement to assess the degree of stenosis (or narrowing of a blood vessel). The arrow points to a narrowing of the artery to 1.1 mm due to a calcified lesion. The vertical graph on the right represents the minimum diameter of the vessel. The farther to the left the graph moves, the narrower the artery.

During Your Procedure

While positioning you on the exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.

If contrast dye is being used, it will be injected through your IV.

During the injection you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal.

If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face you should notify the technologist immediately.

You will be asked to lie flat on your back. Your arms will be positioned at your sides. You will be asked to hold very still.

The table you are on will slide into the scanner. Only your head and neck will be covered by the scanner. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out.

The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.

This procedure usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

After Your Procedure

There are no restrictions placed on you after this procedure. You may eat and drive as normal.

If you received an injection of contrast dye, you should drink plenty of liquid to help flush it out of your system.

Your study will be read by an imaging physician who specializes in the interpretation of CT scans. The results will be sent to your physician, usually within 48 hours.

Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

To request copies of your pictures on a PC-compatible CD, or of your report, please call 310-423-8000. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000. 

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.