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Your doctor has requested a computed tomography scan (CT or CAT) of your mandible and/or maxilla. The mandible is the lower jaw. The maxilla is the upper jaw. CT scans use X-ray technology and advanced computer analysis to create detailed pictures of the body. A CT of the mandible/maxilla can help your physician to assess any injury, infection, or other abnormalities.
Cedars-Sinai's S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center has a team of specialists, led by Barry D. Pressman, MD, Chief of Neuroradiology and Head and Neck Radiology, who focus on these types of scans.
Before Arriving for Your Exam
Patients who are diabetic and taking Glucophage will need clearance from their referring physician before the exam.
You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything three hours before your exam.
Some scans will require a contrast dye, administered through an injection in your arm. The dye improves the image quality by highlighting certain structures, such as arteries, and making them more visible on the scan.
Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home and wear comfortable clothing. Because this is a scan of the head, anything like dentures, false teeth or implants, earrings, or hairpins can interfere with the scan and should be left at home.
Although we do not anticipate any delay in your scheduled appointment, we recommend that you bring a book, a magazine, or a music player to help pass any time you may have to wait.
A radiology nurse or technologist will ask you a few questions regarding your medical history.
If you are receiving contrast, a nurse or technologist will insert a small IV in your arm.
You must inform the technologist, radiology nurse and/or physician of any allergies you may have before your exam.
During Your Exam
While positioning you on the exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
If contrast dye is being used, it will be injected through your IV.
During the injection you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal.
If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face you should notify the technologist immediately.
You will be asked to lie flat on your back. Your arms will be positioned at your sides. Your head will be placed in a holder and you will be asked to hold very still.
The table you are on will slide into the scanner. Only your head will be covered by the scanner. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out.
The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.
This procedure usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
After Your Exam
There are no restrictions placed on you after this procedure. You may eat and drive as normal.
If you received an injection of contrast dye, you should drink plenty of liquid to help flush it out of your system.
Your study will be read by an imaging physician who specializes in the interpretation of CT scans. The results will be sent to your physician, usually within 48 hours.
Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (310) 423-8000.
The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.