What is a CT scan?
A computed tomography (CT) scan associations a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer treating to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues within your body. CT images provide more thorough information than plain X-rays.
A CT scan has many uses, but it is particularly well suitable for quickly examining people who may have inner injuries from car accidents or other types of trauma. A CT scan can be used to visualize almost every part of the body and is used to diagnose illness or injury, as well as to plan medical, surgical, or radiation treatments.
Your doctor may mention a CT scan to help:
- Diagnose muscle and bone disorders, such as tumours and bone fractures
- Recognize the location of a tumour, infection, or blood clot
- Controller processes such as surgery, biopsy, and radiation therapy
- Detect and monitor diseases and situations such as cancer, heart disease, lung nodules, and liver masses
- Monitor the efficiency of certain treatments, such as cancer treatment
- Detects internal injuries and internal bleeding
Exposure to radiation
During a CT scan, you are temporarily exposed to ionizing radiation. The amount of radiation is greater than what you would receive during a plain X-ray because the CT scan collects more detailed information. The low doses of radiation used in CT scans have not been revealed to cause long-term harm, although at much higher doses there may be a small intensification in your potential risk of cancer.
CT scans have many benefits that outweigh any small potential risks. Doctors use the lowest radiation dose possible to obtain necessary medical information. Also, newer and faster machines and techniques require less radiation than previously used. Talk to your doctor about the profits and risks of your CT scan.
Harm to unborn babies
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Although radiation from a CT scan is doubtful to harm your baby, your doctor may mention another type of tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI, to avoid exposing your baby to radiation. With the low doses of radiation used in CT imaging, no negative effects have been seen in humans.
Reactions to contrast material
This may be something that you are asked to drink before your CT scan or something that is given through a vein in your arm or inserted into your rectum. Although rare, the contrast material can cause medical problems or allergic reactions.
Most reactions are mild and cause a rash or itching. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can be serious and even life-threatening.
Dependent on the part of your body being skimmed, you may be asked to:
- Eliminate some or all of your clothing and wear a hospital gown
- Remove metallic objects, such as belts, jewellery, dentures, and glasses, that may interfere with the imaging results
- Abstain from eating or drinking for a few hours before your scan
A special dye called contrast material is needed for some CT scan to help highpoint the areas of your body being inspected. The different material blocks the x-rays and seems white in the images, which can help emphasize blood vessels, intestines, or other structures.
Contrast material may be provided:
- Oral. If you are having your esophagus or stomach scanned, you may need to swallow a liquid that contains contrast material. This drink can have an unpleasant taste.
- By injection. Contrast agents can be injected through a vein in your arm to help your gallbladder, urinary tract, liver, or blood vessels show up on pictures. You may experience a hot sensation during the injection or a metallic taste in your mouth.
- By enema. Different materials may be introduced into your rectum to help visualize your intestines. This procedure can make you sensation bloated and rough.
What can you expect?
You can have a CT scan in a hospital or outpatient centre. CT scan is painless and, with newer machines, only takes a few minutes. The entire process usually takes about 30 minutes.
The procedure of CT scan
During the procedure
CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut on its side. You lie on a narrow, motor-powered table that slides through the opening into a tunnel. Straps and pillows can be used to help you stay in position. During a head scan, the table may be equipped with a special base that keeps your head still.
As the table moves you toward the scanner, the detectors and x-ray tube rotate around you. Each rotation produces several fine-cut images of your body. You may hear buzzing and humming noise.
A technologist in a distinct room can see and hear you. You will be able to communicate with the technician through the intercom. The technician may ask you to hold your breath at certain points to avoid blurring the images.
After the procedure
After the exam, you can arrive at your normal routine. If you were given a contrast material, you may receive special commands. In some cases, you may be asked to wait a bit before leaving to make sure you feel fine after the exam. After the scan, you will likely be instructed to drink plenty of fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body.