CT (Computed Tomography) Scan


The body’s computed tomography (CT) uses advanced x-ray technology to detect a number of diseases and ailments. CT scanning is a quick, painless, noninvasive, and precise procedure. It can disclose internal injuries and bleeding soon enough to save lives in emergency situations.

If you think you could be pregnant, tell your doctor about it, as well as any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you’re taking, and allergies you’ve had. You will be told not to eat or drink anything for a few hours prior to the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe drugs to lessen the chance of an allergic reaction if you have a known allergy to contrast material. Wear loose, comfy clothing and leave your jewels at home. It’s possible that you’ll be requested to put on a robe.

Doctors and other healthcare experts have years of training, but there are still a lot of problems they can’t identify just by looking at or listening to your body.

Certain medical diseases necessitate a closer examination of your body’s tissues, blood vessels, and bones. X-rays and ultrasounds can provide some information, but a computed tomography (CT) scan is usually the next step when a more detailed image is required.

In this post, we’ll look at how a CT scan works, what it’s used for, and what it’s like to have one done.


What is CT-Scan?


A CT scan, often known as a CAT scan or a CT scan, is a diagnostic medical imaging procedure. It provides several images or photos of the inside of the body, similar to standard x-rays.

Images from a CT scan can be reformatted in multiple planes. It’s even capable of producing three-dimensional visuals. These images can be viewed on a computer display, printed on film or using a 3D printer, or transferred to a CD or DVD by your doctor.

Internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood arteries are more detailed in CT pictures than in standard x-rays. This is especially true of blood vessels and soft tissues.

Radiologists can more quickly diagnose diseases including cancer, cardiovascular illness, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders by using specialised equipment and knowledge to make and interpret CT scans of the body.

A CT scan may be used to visualize the:

  • head
  • shoulders
  • spine
  • heart
  • abdomen
  • knee
  • chest

A CT scan involves lying down in a tunnel-like machine while the inside spins and takes a succession of X-rays from various angles.

These photos are then transferred to a computer, where they are merged to produce images of body slices, or cross-sections. They can also be merged to create a 3-D representation of a specific body part.


Common usage of CT-Scan


CT imaging is:

  • one of the fastest and most accurate tools for examining the chest, abdomen and pelvis because it provides detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of tissue.
  • used to examine patients with injuries from trauma such as a motor vehicle accident.
  • performed on patients with acute symptoms such as chest or abdominal pain or difficulty breathing.
  • often the best method for detecting cancers in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, such as lymphoma and cancers of the lung, liver, kidney, ovary and pancreas. It’s considered the best method since the image allows a physician to confirm the presence of a tumor, measure its size, identify its precise location and determine the extent of its involvement with other nearby tissue.
  • an examination that plays a significant role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases that can lead to stroke, kidney failure or even death. CT is commonly used to assess for pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung vessels) as well as for aortic aneurysms.

In pediatric patients, CT imaging is often used to evaluate:

  • lymphoma
  • neuroblastoma
  • kidney tumors
  • congenital malformations of the heart, kidneys and blood vessels
  • cystic fibrosis
  • complications of acute appendicitis
  • complications of pneumonia
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • severe injuries

Radiologists and radiation oncologists often use the CT examination to:

  • quickly identify injuries to the lungs, heart and vessels, liver, spleen, kidneys, bowel or other internal organs in cases of trauma.
  • guide biopsies and other procedures such as abscess drainages and minimally invasive tumor treatments.
  • plan for and assess the results of surgery, such as organ transplants or gastric bypass.
  • stage, plan and properly administer radiation treatments for tumors as well as monitor response to chemotherapy.
  • measure bone mineral density for the detection of osteoporosis.


How to prepare for CT-scan?


To your exam, dress comfortably in loose-fitting attire. For the procedure, you may need to change into a gown.

Metal artefacts, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, and hairpins, can cause CT pictures to be distorted. Leave them at home or take them off before the exam. Hearing aids and removable dental work must be removed for some CT tests. Metal underwire bras will need to be removed by women. If feasible, you should remove any piercings.

If your exam will include contrast material, your doctor may advise you not to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the exam. Tell your doctor about all of your drugs and any sensitivities you have. Your doctor may prescribe drugs (typically a steroid) to lessen the chance of an adverse reaction if you have a known allergy to contrast material. Contact your doctor well ahead of your test date to minimise any needless delays.

Tell your doctor about any recent illnesses or other medical conditions you’ve had, as well as any family history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, renal disease, or thyroid issues. Any of these factors could raise the chance of a negative reaction.


Experience during CT-Scan


CT scans are usually painless, quick, and simple. The time the patient must lie still is reduced with multidetector CT.

Though the scan is harmless, you may experience minor discomfort as a result of staying still for several minutes or having an IV inserted. A CT exam might be stressful if you have trouble sitting still, are apprehensive, anxious, or in pain. Under the supervision of a doctor, the technician or nurse may prescribe medicine to assist you cope with the CT scan.

Your doctor will screen you for chronic or acute renal illness if the exam involves iodinated contrast material. When the nurse puts the needle into your vein to give contrast material intravenously (via vein), you will feel a pin prick. As the contrast is administered, you may feel warm or flushed. A metallic taste may also be present in your mouth. This will be over soon. You may have a strong desire to urinate. These are, however, simply temporary negative effects from the contrast injection.

You may find the taste of oral contrast material moderately unpleasant if you consume it. Most patients, on the other hand, can readily handle it. If you get an enema, you can anticipate to feel full in your stomach. You may also notice a growing desire to eject the liquid. If this is the case, be patient; the mild discomfort will pass quickly.

You may notice distinctive light lines projected across your body when you enter the CT scanner. These lines will help you get into the proper position on the exam table. You may hear modest buzzing, clicking, or whirring sounds from newer CT scanners. During the imaging procedure, the CT scanner’s interior pieces, which are generally not visible to you, whirl around you.


Benefits of CT-Scan


  • CT scanning is painless, noninvasive, and accurate.
  • A major advantage of CT is its ability to image bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels all at the same time.
  • Unlike conventional x-rays, CT scanning provides very detailed images of many types of tissue as well as the lungs, bones, and blood vessels.
  • CT exams are fast and simple. In emergency cases, they can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly enough to help save lives.
  • CT has been shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems.
  • CT is less sensitive to patient movement than MRI.
  • Unlike MRI, an implanted medical device of any kind will not prevent you from having a CT scan.
  • CT imaging provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding needle biopsies and needle aspirations. This is particularly true of procedures involving the lungs, abdomen, pelvis, and bones.
  • A diagnosis via CT scan may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.
  • No radiation remains in a patient’s body after a CT exam.
  • The x-rays used for CT scanning should have no immediate side effects.


Risks associated with CT-Scan


There are very few risks associated with a CT scan. These include:

  • exposure to radiation
  • allergic reactions to contrast dyes
  • increased cancer risk with multiple scans

If you are allergic to contrast dye, your doctor may opt for a non-contrast scan. If you absolutely must use contrast, your doctor may prescribe steroids or other drugs to help you avoid an allergic reaction.

The contrast dye you were given will be naturally removed from your body through your urine and faeces after the scan. Because contrast dye can put a strain on the kidneys, you may be advised to drink plenty of water after your procedure.

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