What to Expect During a Sinus CT

For a CT scan of the sinuses, you may be positioned face-down with the chin elevated.

Straps and pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position and to hold still during the exam.

The table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed.

You may be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. Any motion, whether breathing or body movements, can affect the quality of the images.

When the exam is complete, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation.

Time Consideration

The actual CT scan takes less than a minute and the entire process is usually completed within 10 minutes.

Other Factors

CT exams are generally painless, fast and easy. With helical CT, the amount of time that the patient needs to lie still is reduced.

Though the scanning itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still for several minutes.

When you enter the CT scanner, special lights may be used to ensure that you are properly positioned. With modern CT scanners, you will hear only slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds as the CT scanner revolves around you during the imaging process.

You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan. However, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times.

If the patient is a child, a parent may be allowed in the room but will be required to wear a lead apron to prevent radiation exposure.

After a CT exam, you can return to your normal activities. If you received contrast material, you may be given special instructions.