Computed Tomography (CT), also known as CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) scan is a special type of X-ray that produces 2D and/or 3D images of the body. The images produced are similar to what a surgeon would see when performing an operation. Because CT images are more detailed than the images produced by conventional X-rays, there is greater accuracy and ability to detect small abnormalities that might go undetected otherwise. It is fast, efficient, and effective with low risk.

CT technology has progressed over the years. Reno Diagnostic Centers (RDC), recently introduced the Hitachi 128-Slice Scenaria View, Spiral CT scanner. This scanner has the ability to capture multiple image slices simultaneously in less than half a second (a typical full-body CT is performed in about 15 seconds). Patients will enjoy a greater level of comfort with the wider bore of this scanner, a benefit especially for those who experience claustrophobia.

RDC has been consistently mindful of patient safety and the need to keep radiation dose as low as possible while still getting the highest quality images for interpretation by one of our radiologists. Our new scanner features Hitachi’s Next Generation Vision Model-based Interactive Reconstruction capability called “Intelli IPV”. This means the new scanner provides radiation dose reduction up to 83% at the same image quality.

A CT scan can be used to detect the following:

  • Cancer
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Pancreatic Disease
  • Back Problems
  • Pulmonary Blood Clots
  • Coronary & Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Appendicitis

Exam Descriptions:

CT is unique in its ability to simultaneously image soft tissue along with bone and blood vessels. It is exceptional at differentiating soft tissue structures and is one of the best tools for studying the lungs and the abdomen. CT is considered the primary and best means of evaluating most suspected pathologies in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.

Coronary CT Angiograms

This exam is a minimally invasive procedure, designed to view both the calcified and non-calcified plaque in your coronary arteries. This study provides an accurate alternative to traditional Coronary Angiography, but without the risk.

Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening

This exam visualizes the lungs without contrast to detect small masses that may be cancerous. This exam is helpful in aiding detection of early onset of lung cancer that may otherwise go unnoticed without a screening. To be eligible for a Low-Dose Lung Cancer Screening you must meet ALL of the following criteria: 

  • 50-80 years of age 
  • Have smoked 1 pack a day for 20 years OR 2 packs a day for 10 years 
  • Current smoker or quit within the last 15 years 
  • Asymptomatic; and
  • Receive an order from your provider for a lung cancer screening.


CT scans provide excellent visualizations of joints and the underlying bone anatomy, allowing for both 2D and 3D evaluation. CT can also be complementary to an MRI in evaluating fractures associated with joint injuries.


Unlike conventional X-Rays, CT has the ability to show complex brain structures. It is a valuable tool in the detection of tumors, blood clots, enlarged ventricles, and other brain disorders. CT scans can be complementary to an MRI when evaluating the brain and spine.  No preparation is required for this procedure (without contrast).

Preparation and what to expect during the procedure:

Coronary CT Angiogram

A registered nurse will be calling you prior to your exam to go over the prep instructions, what to expect and answer any questions you have about this exam.

  • No Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis (or any other ED medication) 2 days prior and one day after exam
  • No caffeine 24 hours prior to your exam (i.e., coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soda)
  • No food 4 hours prior to your exam, water is okay
  • No exercise or vigorous activity on the day of your exam

What to expect:

  • Please arrive 1.5 hours prior to your appointment time for preparation
  • Upon arrival a nurse will take you to an exam room to start your IV
  • Patient vitals will be taken to observe your heartrate
  • Patient will be escorted to CT to be positioned on table
  • EKG monitoring will take place during exam
  • CT exam will be completed within 5-10 minutes 
  • Patient will be monitored 30 minutes after completion of CT exam 
  • Estimated 2 hours total time spent at RDC 

Abdomen and/or Pelvis

  • No food 2 hours prior to exam
  • Drinking water prior to your exam is encouraged
  • You may take medications up to the time of your exam with water
  • It is possible that an oral prep kit may be needed for your exam. The oral prep is a drink that is used to help enhance the digestive tract detail in the CT images. Your doctor’s office or a staff member from RDC will let you know if an oral prep is needed upon the time of scheduling.

There are two oral prep options:

  1. Pick up prep kit from RDC or your doctor’s office at least one day prior to exam
  2. Arrive 1 hour early to drink prep kit at RDC. (Ideal for patients who are from out of town or unable to pick up prep the day before their appointment)

If you picked up oral prep kit prior to your exam see below:

1 bottle kit:

  • Consists of 450 ml
  • Drink 300ml (approximately 10 ounces) of barium contrast 1.5 hours prior to your appointment
  • Drink the remaining 150ml 30 minutes prior to your exam

2 bottle kit with appointment time BEFORE 9:00AM

  • Drink 300ml barium 3 hours prior to exam OR at bedtime the night prior to your exam
  • Drink 300ml barium 1.5 hours prior to exam
  • Drink 300ml barium 30 minutes prior to exam

2 bottle kit with appointment time AFTER 9:00

  • Drink 300ml barium 3 hours prior to exam
  • Drink 300ml barium 1.5 hours prior to exam
  • Drink 300ml barium 30 minutes prior to exam