WHAT IS COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY?
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 and this process generates data used by a computer to generate an image of the body's internal structure. Images are displayed as “slices”, similar to a loaf of bread.
During a routine x-ray, dense tissues can block or overlie 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, and separating overlying structures.
The detailed pictures may show problems in soft tissues, body organs, and bones. Doctors frequently use CT scan to examine the brain, sinuses, lungs, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and skeleton.
Our Brivo CT scan machine has been optimized to minimize radiation dose.
What does the equipment look like?
The CT scanner is typically a large, box-like machine with a hole, or short tunnel, in the center. You will lie on a narrow examination table that slides into and out of this tunnel. Rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry.
The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate control room, where the radiographer operates the scanner and monitors your examination in direct visual contact and usually with the ability to hear and talk to you with the use of a two-way communication system.
What can I expect during the exam?
You will meet our well trained radiographer and radiologist whose primary concern is your care and well-being. Their overall objective is to ensure the most accurate results from your examination.
You may be given an examination gown if any of your clothing will interfere with the exam. You may be asked to remove any jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins which affect the CT images.
Prior to the start of your CT exam the radiographer or radiologist 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. You may be required to take contrast medium, which is essentially a harmless ‘dye’ that helps highlight your body structures better and improve diagnostic detail of your CT examination.
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 radiographer will have you in view at all times and will be in constant communication via a two-way communication system. During this brief time, you will hear the humming of the equipment as it produces the images. You may also feel the movement of the table as it moves you through the gantry.
The exam itself usually takes from 5 to 15 minutes. However, some CT examinations require preparation that might take up to an hour.
How do I prepare for this exam?
Do not eat solid food for four hours prior to the exam. You may drink clear liquids during this time.
Routine medications may also be taken. For abdominal/pelvic CT scan, you may have to drink oral contrast about one hour prior to the CT examination.
Patients must always notify the radiographer of any possibility of pregnancy.
What can I expect after the exam?
The radiologist, a physician specialist, will study the results of your exam and give a report based on your study examination. You may discuss the report with the radiologist.
What are the benefits?
- 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 examinations 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.
- CT can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, unlike MRI.
- CT imaging provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and needle aspirations of many areas of the body, particularly the lungs, abdomen, pelvis and bones.
- A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.