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How long does a computed tomography (CT) scan take?

Computed tomography (CT) scans, also called computerized tomography or CAT scans, can take a few seconds to sometimes minutes. People need to stay still during the scan to make sure the pictures are really clear.

Most computed tomography (CT) scans take no longer than 30 minutes although additional time may be needed to set up an intravenous line and adjust positioning. Some patients will be asked to arrive one hour ahead of time so that the barium mixture they drink will reach and outline the gastrointestinal tract. During the exam, the technologist monitors the patient through a leaded window and can answer the patient's questions via an intercom.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.