Cancer diagnosis and treatment at West Cancer Center involves a team of experts in multiple specialties. This multidisciplinary, team-based approach provides the net comfort to our patients that they are going to receive the best care available, right here in Memphis. 


How should I prepare for the scan?

  • Please do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine after midnight the night before your scan. Do not take thyroid medicine, Pseudofed or use inhalers.
  • You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing for you exam (no snaps, zippers or metal objects).
  • Women should always inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is a possibility they are pregnant.
  • It is very important to take your regular medicine.
  • You should have a friend of family member drive you home. NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, PLEASE.

What does the equipment look like?

  • The CT scanner is a large, square machine with a hole in the center like a doughnut.  You will be asked to lie on the table which can move up or down and slide in and out of the hole. 
  • Inside the hole, an x-ray tube moves around the body producing images, making slight clicking and whirring noises.  During the test the technologist will be able to see and speak with you from outside the room.

How is the procedure performed?

  • Ideally, your heart rate needs to be below 60 beats per minute.  You most likely will be given medication by your physician to take before you come to our office.  If your heart rate is still too high upon your arrival, you may be given additional medication.  The length of time it takes to decrease your heart rate varies from patient to patient.
  • Our phlebotomy department will draw some lab work and start an IV prior to your scan. 
  • The exam requires the use of contrast material (x-ray dye) to visualize the coronary arteries. The radiology nurse or technologist will ask some questions about your medical history before giving you any contrast material. You may feel a warm sensation after dye has been injected into your arm.  Flushing is normal and will only last a couple of minutes. The actual scan time is usually 5-15 minutes. The entire exam process can take up to 1-2 hours. 

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

  • A radiologist will analyze the images and provide your physician with his interpretation.  Your personal physician will inform you of your results.

Printable Instructions

To print a copy of these instruction, click here for a printable PDF.