Computed Tomography (CT)

 

A CT scan is an x-ray procedure that is enhanced by a computer and gives out a three-dimensional view (referred to as a “slice”) of a particular part of the body. It is a highly sensitive method to accurately view the internal anatomy and detect extremely small lesions. While dense tissue can block some areas during standard x-ray image procedures, CT scans create a three-dimensional view by using a computer to combine different slices, showing all bone and tissue. With modern CT scan, the thin images can be further manipulated with a specialized computer to see the human body in ways that have never been seen before, helping doctors diagnose diseases more quickly and accurately. The procedure is non-invasive or minimally invasive, requires minimal radiation exposure and can simultaneously depict tissues of different densities, which is not possible with traditional x-ray methods..

Why is it use?

CT scans are being used mainly to diagnose abnormalities in the body and its list of usefulness is expending almost daily. It can literally “see” inside a patient’s body, creating vivid pictures to make the diagnosis of a patient’s illness much more accurate, quick and simple. The current uses of CT scans include almost the entire body – brain, spine, other bones, muscles, lungs, heart, blood vessels, liver, pancreas, and the upper and lower gastrointestinal systems. Sometimes, CT scans may be used to guide doctors in performing procedures such as biopsies, drainages, and in accurate placement of therapeutic materials. This procedure creates real-time images that can detect internal injuries or bleeding quickly and simply, and often eliminates the need for exploratory surgery or biopsy.

What can I expect?

Depending on the size of the area being scanned, the examination can take from 5-10 minutes. Just prior to actual CT scanning, the patient is placed on the CT examination table by a CT technologist on his or her back, side or stomach, and may be provided with pillows for comfortable support. The technologist leaves the room and the scanning begins as the CT examination table moves through the large doughnut-shaped CT scanner. During this time, specialized x-ray images are obtained as the x-ray beam inside the CT unit spirals around the patient, creating a volumetric data of the area being examined. The patients will not feel anything from the x-ray beam. In some cases, a contrast material is needed for better scan results. In such cases, it is normal to feel a warm sensation as the dye makes its way through your body. (Either by swallowing, injection or enema, depending on the area being studied).

How can I prepare?

Metal objects such as jewelry, eyeglasses and hair clips should be removed prior to the procedure, along with hearing aids and removable dental work (Items to be removed according to the scanned area, no need to remove items from the whole body).

Regular CT Scan:

No preparation is required.

CT Scan with Contrast:

Do not eat or drink anything for six (6) hours prior to a CT with contrast examination. Patient needs to bring a recent kidney function test (Creatinine) to make sure the kidney function is sufficient to excrete the contrast.

Note: Patients with renal dialysis should schedule their dialysis appointment right after the CT with contrast exam.