CT Scan

When you need answers about your health, a computed tomography (CT) scan at Johnston Health can help. You have access to this advanced diagnostic tool near your community in Smithfield or Clayton.

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan– also called a CAT scan–uses special X-ray technology to see inside any part of your body from many angles. With the machine’s pictures, doctors create a detailed, 3D image of your bones, organs, blood vessels, or tissues.

Your doctor can use CT scans to diagnose a condition, plan treatment, or monitor how well treatment works.

Accredited, High-Quality Care

Rest assured that Johnston Health has excellent equipment, staff, and safety measures for your CT exam. Johnston Health (Smithfield hospital) and Johnston Health Clayton Ambulatory Imaging hold accreditation in CT by The American College of Radiology (ACR), which sets national standards for imaging tests.

Safe Imaging for Children

Your child will get the lowest possible dose of radiation during a CT scan. Johnston Health is accredited in pediatric CT imaging by the ACR and supports the Image Gently campaign to keep young patients safe.

What to Expect

You’ll lie on a table while it moves into the CT machine. Your technician may ask you to hold your breath sometimes and keep still to get a more accurate picture.

Most CT scans take about 30 minutes.

Contrast Dye

Sometimes, your doctor may need to give you a contrast dye to help the machine see more clearly inside your body. You’ll swallow this material or receive it via injection.

How to Prepare for Your CT Scan

Follow these guidelines:

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing
  • Remove jewelry and eyeglasses
  • Avoid drinking or eating in the hours before the test if your doctor tells you to

Depending on the part of your body getting the CT scan, you may need to change into a hospital gown to get a more accurate picture.

Preparation Instructions

For more information about your CT scan, download these instructions:


A radiologist will review your images and send a report to your doctor who ordered the test. You’ll get a call from your doctor’s office to discuss the results and next steps.

To check your results in our secure, online patient portal, visit My UNC Chart.

Talk to Your Doctor

If your doctor orders an imaging procedure at UNC Health Johnston, you’ll get a call from Community Wide Scheduling to make an appointment.

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