About your CT-Guided Procedure
Your doctor has recommended that you have a CT-Guided Procedure. CT-Guided Procedures are an excellent, minimally invasive alternative to surgery. Common procedures using CT guidance include biopsies of lesions, drain placement into fluid collections, or Radiofrequency Ablation of a tumor. One thing all these have in common is the use of the CT scanner to guide the Radiologist or Radiology Provider directly into the area targeted. BIOPSIES use a small, hollow needle to sample lesions and obtain cores of tissue for diagnosis. DRAINS are catheters that are inserted into fluid collections, such as abdominal abscesses, to remove fluid. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) uses a heat probe to destroy malignant tumors. CT procedures are used to access areas of the body such as the lungs, abdomen, pelvis, and even bones! CT-Guided procedures are generally very safe and quick (under one hour in most cases), and can usually be performed with minimal discomfort using moderate sedation.
Prepare for your Procedure:
5 days before your procedure:
Stop all blood thinning medications such as Coumadin, Plavix, Aspirin and Ibuprofen. If you are not sure if one of your medications is a blood thinner, please ask. If you are taking blood thinners for your heart, you will need to confirm with your cardiologist that discontinuing this medicine is safe for you.
Confirm any arrangements you need to secure the day off work. Do not plan other appointments, errands, or activities, as your procedure will require a minimum of several hours of your time.
Make arrangements for a responsible adult to bring you to the hospital and DRIVE YOU HOME. We cannot start your procedure without verification of your ride home. Taxis are not an acceptable option, because your driver will also be the person to take responsibility for your discharge instructions.
If your doctor has requested it, you will have labs drawn during this time period and meet with a nurse to go over additional medical information. This varies from facility to facility. You may receive a call from the hospital to confirm your medications and instructions. Be sure to have accurate contact information so we can reach you to go over your instructions.
If you are having RFA of a tumor, you will probably be asked to come in for a consultation with the midlevel provider and the Interventional Radiologist to review your case, discuss the procedure in depth, and look at your images.
1 day before your procedure:
Eat a light dinner, then have NOTHING to eat or drink after MIDNIGHT the night before your procedure, unless specifically instructed by the nurse or doctor to take certain medications with a sip of water.
Usually, any type of blood pressure medication or heart medication may be taken, as well as the use of inhalers. We want your heart, lungs, and blood pressure in good shape for your procedure! If you are unsure if you should take a medication, bring it with you to the hospital. You may be able to take it just before your procedure.
If you use a CPAP machine, or have been prescribed one for sleep apnea, please bring it to the hospital. We want your breathing to be as strong as possible during your procedure.
Try to get a good night’s sleep. You may feel anxious, but do not take any form of sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medication unless your doctor has approved it. Now is also not the time to try new medications, so if you do not normally take these types of medicines, don’t start.
Confirm your ride to and from the hospital. Do NOT make any plans for the next 24 hours, such as taking care of children, work or running errands.
You will probably want to leave valuables at home, but if you DO bring them (purse, wallet, phone, electronics, etc), you will want to entrust them to your family member or friend who accompanies you. We DO have the ability to lock your valuables up with our security service, if necessary.
Set your alarm clock! In most cases, you will need to arrive 2 hours prior to your procedure, which may mean a very early start for you!
The Day of Your Procedure:
Arrive at the hospital at your appointed time, and please try to be ON time. We have a lot of work to do before we can actually begin, and do not want to delay your procedure.
First you will register and receive an armband with your identification on it. PLEASE confirm this for accuracy. Everything we do for you from this point forward will require the correct information-date of birth, name spelled correctly, etc. on your armband. If you have registered under another name in the past (ex. Maiden or Married name, using initials or a middle name), please clarify these things so we can put ALL your information under the proper name. It only takes a few minutes at the registration desk, and will spare you a lot of grief, or worse-inaccuracy of your records- in the future.
You will be brought back to the department pre-procedure holding area by a nurse. Up to two family members/friends may accompany you if you wish. This area is where you will spend your pre-procedure and post procedure time. You will change into a gown, have labs drawn if you have not done this before, and have an IV started. Our nurses are very experienced and caring, and are here to take excellent care of you and make your stay as pleasant as possible. If you need anything, such as a warm blanket, please ask!
Our Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant will see you to review pertinent medical information, perform a physical exam, review your procedure, answer any questions, and have you sign your consent form if you have not done so already.
You will be escorted to our CT procedure room. Our radiology nurse will do an assessment and prepare you for your procedure. A blood pressure cuff, oxygen and a pulse oximeter will be applied.
We will then perform a “TIME OUT”, or a safety check. This is a very important time because it lets all of our team review the details of YOUR case once again before beginning. We review things like your name and birthdate (remember that armband!), your procedure, any allergies you may have, and any special concerns about your case. You will be asked to confirm that all these things are correct as well, and if ANYTHING seems incorrect, to please let us know. Now we may begin!
The nurse will administer pain medication and a sedative to make you groggy and drowsy. You should sleep comfortably throughout the procedure, but if you do feel aware of your surroundings, you should feel no pain.
Most procedures take approximately 30-45 minutes (longer for RFA). Your family can expect you to be with us in the radiology department for at least an hour to an hour and a half.
When the procedure is finished, you will have a small bandage over the puncture site, or, if you have had a drain placed, you will have a device securing the drain to your skin, and a bag to collect any fluid that is being drained. You will be instructed how to care for your drain.
After your Procedure:
After your procedure is over, you will be returned to your assessment room for monitoring by our nursing staff. Expect to stay 1-4 hours after your procedure. In most cases, you will be allowed to eat and drink as soon as you feel awake and alert. If you have pain, your nurse will be able to provide you pain relief. It is not expected that you would have pain lasting until discharge, and pain medication is not normally needed once you go home. You will be given written discharge instructions tailored to your individual case prior to discharge. Your friend or family member will also be responsible for understanding these instructions.
Biopsy results generally take 72 hours to be reported to your referring physician. Please make arrangements for follow-up with your physician to discuss your results.