Clinical Procedures in CT & Ultrasound

Clinical Procedures in CT & Ultrasound

What is CT?

CT stands for Computerized Axial Tomography. The CT uses radiation and computers to perform diagnostic procedures. It also assists in performing interventional procedures such as biopsy, drainage and placement of a tube. Diagnostic studies with CT are usually painless. Patients having an interventional procedure with CT may experience some discomfort.


Ultrasound uses sound waves, not radiation, to perform diagnostic procedures. Like CT, it also assists in performing interventional procedures. Diagnostic studies with ultrasound are usually painless. Patients having an interventional procedure with ultrasound may experience some discomfort.

Who will perform the procedure?

One or more radiologists will perform theprocedure. A radiologist is a medical doctor who has advanced medical training in the field of medical imaging. A radiology technologist who specializes in CT or Ultrasound will also be present for the procedure. If you require sedation for anxiety or pain control, a registered nurse will be present as well.

Where will the procedure be done?

The procedure will be done in the Radiology Department in University Hospital East on the main floor. You may park in the garage across the street from the hospital. Bring your parking ticket to radiology with you. It must be validated to qualify for free parking.

How does the procedure work?

Biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue or cells from the area of the body specified by your doctor. This may be done in one of two ways. It can be done by piercing the skin with a hollow needle and guiding the needle into the tissue or organ. Cells are then withdrawn (aspirated) through the needle and sent to the lab for examination. Or a different kind of needle can be placed into the tissue or organ and an extremely small tissue sample is extracted. After the sample is obtained, it is sent to the lab for examination. Within 30 minutes the lab will inform the radiologist if an adequate amount of cells or tissue was obtained for a diagnosis to be made. It may be necessary to repeat the procedure at this time. When it is determined a diagnosis can be made from the sample that was taken, the procedure is over.

Drainage is the drawing off of fluid from a body cavity. This is done by inserting a device, usually a tube, into the cavity to remove fluid as it collects.

How long does the procedure take?

A biopsy usually takes between 45 - 60 minutes. This includes taking the CT or Ultrasound pictures and waiting for lab results. If the area of the body for the biopsy is extremely difficult to access with a needle, it may take longer.

A drainage usually requires 1 hour.

If sedation is required for the procedure, an additional 60 minutes prior to the procedure is needed. During this time, the radiology nurse will obtain a medical history and start an IV (place a small plastic needle into a vein). During the procedure, medication for pain and to reduce anxiety will be administered through the IV by the nurse.

What must be done to get ready for the test?

In order to receive IV sedation, follow these instructions:

Arrive in radiology 1 hour prior to the appointment time.

Do Not eat any food or drink any milk 6 hours prior to arriving at the hospital.

You may continue to take Clear Liquids up until 2 hours prior to arriving at the hospital. Clear Liquids include Jello®, soda and decaffeinated coffee, and juice that you can hold up to the light and see through. No orange juice.

No food or other liquids by mouth for 4 hours prior to arriving at the hospital.

If you are diabetic, do not take your diabetic medication. Bring this medication to the hospital with you.

If you normally take "fluid pills", please contact your primary care physician or call our Radiology nursing station at (434) 982-3362 for instructions.

If you normally take aspirin or other blood thinning medicine, check with your doctor about taking them. We recommend not taking either for 7 days prior to the procedure.

Since the radiologist will be performing an invasive procedure, it is good to know how long it will take your blood to clot. Ask your doctor about drawing blood to check the PT, PTT and Platelet counts.

In order to receive sedation, you MUST HAVE A DRIVER. No medication will be given unless you have a driver or plan to be picked up by someone following the procedure.

What happens after the procedure?

If you received sedation, the nurse will monitor you until you are fully recovered and ready for discharge.

Results of biopsy procedures are usually not available for 2-3 days. This report will go to your doctor who referred you to radiology for the procedure.



For any questions or concerns

Contact the Radiology and Medical Imaging department at 434-924-9400.