Computed Tomography- CT Scans
GE Brightspeed EliteComputed Tomography or CT scan (sometimes called CAT scan) uses special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to obtain multiple images from different angles and joins them together to produce cross-sectional images. CT scans allow much greater clarity of bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels than routine X-rays. It is a noninvasive exam that helps physicians diagnose and treat numerous medical conditions.
Areas of Application
What Are The Benefits vs. Risks?
- CT scans are fast, non-invasive, and accurate.
- They are capable of imaging bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels all at the same time.
- A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and biopsy.
- CT scans have been shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems.
- Although the patient is exposed to clinically acceptable radiation, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
- Intravenous contrast material is often used when preforming CT studies; the risk of serious reaction is very rare and our personnel are trained to screen all patients and treat any reaction.
- Women should always inform their doctor and CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
- Nursing mothers should wait 24 hours after contrast injection before resuming breast feeding.
Learn More About CT Scans
About CT Examinations
How does the procedure work?
Unlike conventional x-rays, which produce one dimensional images of the body, CT scanning uses x-rays in a much different way. In CT, numerous x-ray beams are passed through the body at different angles, and special sensors measure the amount of radiation absorbed by different tissues. As you lay still, the scanner revolves around you (although you cannot see this happen), emitting x-ray beams in a spiral path, while recording thousands of data points. This technique is called helical or spiral CT. A special computer program then analyzes the differences in x-ray absorption to form cross-sectional images, or "slices". CT imaging is sometimes compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices or tomograms, hence the name "computed tomography." The images can then be reconstructed in any two-dimensional plane or into three-dimensional images of the body's interior.
How is the procedure performed?
The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT examination table, usually lying flat on your back. The table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. You will be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. Any motion, whether breathing or body movements, can lead to artifacts on the images, so it is very important to follow instructions. Contrast material may be injected unless there is a history of allergy or other contraindications.
Have an upcoming CT examination?
How do I prepare for my examination?
Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, dental implants or hairpins may adversely affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam.
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours beforehand, especially if a contrast material or “dye” will be used in your exam. You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies including allergy to contrast material, or "dye". It is especially important to notify the staff if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes or kidney disease - particularly if you are taking Glucophage (Metformin) - as these conditions may affect your response to the contrast material.
Women should always inform the technologist and radiologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or nursing.
Who will interpret the CT scan?
A radiologist with special expertise in the targeted area for the CT scan will analyze the images. Head CT scans will be interpreted by a neurologist. Chest CT examinations are interpreted by a radiologist experienced in chest CT examinations. Body CT scans are read by a radiologist with expertise in abdominal and pelvis CT examinations.
A preliminary interpretation may be available shortly after the exam. The completed report is sent to the referring physician within twenty-four hours. Your primary physician or the radiologist may discuss the findings of the CT examination with you. Mink Radiology also allows for distribution of diagnostic reports and images over the Internet from our facility to your doctor.