Before the CT Scan
Before a patient can undergo a CT scan, he or she must obtain a written referral from their general physician stating why the patient requires the scan. The patient will then undergo the CT scan at either a hospital or at an outpatient radiology center.
Prior to the actual CT scan, some patients may require an injection of a contrast material, such as barium, to increase visibility. This contrast material (also sometimes called a contrast agent, or simply a “dye”) has a different opacity than the soft tissues of the body, and will make the soft tissues “stand out” on the CT images.