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 Interative Reconstruction capability called “Intelli IPV”. This means the new scanner provides radiation dose reduction up to 83% at the same image quality. One notable benefit is the ability to provide Low-Dose CT lung cancer screening with the new scanner.

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. RDC has an ACLS-Certified Nurse who will contact you prior to your exam.


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:

Brain or Chest CT

  • No food or drink 2-4 hours prior to your exam.

Coronary CT Angiogram

Our ACLS-Certified Nurse will contact you about expectations and guidelines prior to your exam.

  • Please arrive 2 hours prior to your appointment time for preparation.
  • 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, soda, and chocolate).
  • No beta blockers 24 hours before your exam.
  • No food or drink 4 hours prior to your exam.
  • No exercise or vigorous activity on the day of your exam.

Abdomen and/or Pelvis

  • Prep Kit Needed prior to exam. There are two oral prep options:
  • Pick up prep kit from RDC or your doctor’s office at least one day prior to exam
  • (Ideal for patients who are traveling long distance to appointment). Come in to RDC one hour prior to your appointment and drink the one-hour prep flavored water and oral contrast
  • No food for drink 4 hours prior to exam. You may take medications up to the time of your exam with as little water as possible.
  • It is recommended to refrigerate the barium contrast provided in your kit. Please be advised that the prep may cause mild to severe diarrhea. It is essential to drink all of the barium at the specified times as it is necessary to distinguish the bowel loops from other tissues in the exam.
  • No food or drink 4 hours prior to your exam.
  • You may take your medications up to the time of your exam with as little fluid (water) as possible.

Barium Schedules:

  • Abdomen Exam/450ml
  • 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.

Abdomen and Pelvis Exams/900ml
For Morning Pelvis or Abdomen and Pelvis Exams BEFORE to 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.

For Afternoon Pelvis or Abdomen/Pelvis Exams AFTER 9:00AM:

  • 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.