Since its introduction in 1974, computed tomography, also known as CT or CAT Scan has revolutionized medical care by providing detailed images of the body and disease processes. A CT Scan uses an x-ray beam that rotates around the patient. This process generates data used by a computer to generate an image of the body’s internal structure.
The study appears as slices, similar to a loaf of bread. During a routine x-ray, dense tissues can block other areas. The CT Scan is able to put together the different slices to create a three-dimensional view, clearly showing both bone and soft tissue.
The detailed pictures may show problems in soft tissues, body organs, and bones. Physicians frequently use CT to examine the brain, sinuses, lungs, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and skeleton.
The versatility of the CT exam in providing precise body images has allowed it to replace many painful diagnostic procedures, as well as several that are more costly. In some cases, it also has eliminated exploratory surgery.
For these reasons, CT scanning is among the major diagnostic tools used today by radiologists.
You will meet your CT technologist whose primary concern is your care and well-being. This technologist has completed a rigorous course of education and training, and works under the close supervision of our radiologists to assure the most accurate results from your examination.
Prior to the start of your CT exam the technologist will explain the procedure to you. This is done for two reasons: to solicit your cooperation, and to put your mind at ease as to what is taking place. It is in your best interest to follow these instructions in order to obtain the desired results.
Next, you will be gently positioned and secured on the scan table. It is important that you be secured, because even the slightest movement during the split seconds of imaging can blur the picture and result in the need for repeated scans.
The technologist will have you in view at all times and will be in constant communication via two-way intercom. During this brief time, you will hear the humming of the equipment as it produces the images. You may also feel slight movement of the table as it prepares for the next scan.
The exam usually takes from 15 to 45 minutes. This allows for preparation as well as time for the computer to generate the images.
The radiologist, a physician specialist, will study the results of your exam and discuss them with your doctor, who will then consult with you.
A contrast media may be required to improve the diagnostic detail of the CT Scan.
Some contrast agents are taken orally and others are administered through an intravenous (IV) line or by injection. It is normal to feel a warm sensation as the dye makes its way through your body.
This substance is eliminated in one or two days.
All patients are carefully screened for any allergies prior to administering contrast.