Docs and different healthcare professionals have years of coaching of their subject, however there are nonetheless many issues they will’t diagnose just by or listening to your physique.
Sure medical situations require a deeper look, normally on the tissues, blood vessels, and bones inside your physique. X-rays and ultrasounds can present some data, however when a extra detailed view is required, a computed tomography (CT) scan is normally the subsequent step.
On this article, we take a more in-depth take a look at how a CT scan works, what it’s usually used for, and what the process is like.
A CT scan makes use of computer systems and rotating X-ray machines to create cross-sectional pictures of the physique. These pictures present extra detailed data than typical X-ray pictures. They will present the mushy tissues, blood vessels, and bones in varied components of the physique.
A CT scan could also be used to visualise the:
- coronary heart
Throughout a CT scan, you lie in a tunnel-like machine whereas the within of the machine rotates and takes a collection of X-rays from completely different angles.
These footage are then despatched to a pc, the place they’re mixed to create pictures of slices, or cross-sections, of the physique. They might even be mixed to provide a 3-D picture of a specific space of the physique.
CT scans can present detailed pictures of bones, tissues, and even blood vessels inside your physique.
Nonetheless, the photographs which might be produced by these scans seem in shades of blacks and grays. It may be troublesome at occasions even for a educated eye to distinguish one tissue kind from one other in sure conditions.
Distinction dyes include barium or iodine and could be given in plenty of methods, together with orally and intravenously (in your vein). These dyes improve the distinction degree and determination of the ultimate pictures produced with the CT scan for a extra actual analysis.
Nonetheless, there are just a few dangers related to utilizing distinction dyes. For instance, there’s a better likelihood of allergic reactions to the dyes, and so they’re additionally not good on your kidneys.
Nonetheless, each CT scan exposes you to a sure degree of radiation, and a CT scan with distinction could produce higher outcomes than one with out. It could additionally forestall the necessity for a repeated scan.
Beneath is a comparability of when CT scans could also be used with or with no distinction dye.
A CT scan has many makes use of, nevertheless it’s notably well-suited for diagnosing ailments and evaluating accidents. The imaging approach might help your physician:
- diagnose infections, muscle problems, and bone fractures
- pinpoint the situation of plenty and tumors, together with most cancers
- examine the blood vessels and different inner constructions
- assess the extent of inner accidents and inner bleeding
- information procedures, corresponding to surgical procedures and biopsies
- monitor the effectiveness of therapies for sure medical situations, together with most cancers and coronary heart illness
The take a look at is minimally invasive and could be performed rapidly.
A CT scan is painless, nevertheless it does take just a few steps to get profitable pictures.
Methods to put together for a CT scan
CT scans don’t require a lot preparation. If wanted, you are able to do a CT scan with or with out distinction in a short time. In reality, this occurs typically the place a CT scan is required to diagnose traumatic accidents or a stroke.
In the event you’re scheduled for a CT scan with distinction dye, it could assist to chorus from consuming stable meals for as much as 4 hours earlier than your take a look at. That is very true in case your CT scan is being completed to get pictures of your stomach.
In case your physician is utilizing oral distinction on your CT scan, you’ll in all probability be given the distinction earlier than the day of your scan and instructed on the way to put together and drink it. Typically, it would be best to begin ingesting the answer inside an hour or two of your scan, ingesting a portion of the answer each quarter-hour.
Your physician or radiologist will provide you with particular directions. In the event you’re having intravenous (IV) distinction, a catheter shall be inserted into your vein whenever you arrive on the testing facility.
In any other case, the one preparations it’s worthwhile to take earlier than a CT scan are to take away metallic objects and drugs gadgets out of your physique. This consists of:
- jewellery and piercings
- listening to aids
- bras with underwire
- “antimicrobial” clothes with silver know-how
- nicotine patches
- different medicine patches
What to anticipate throughout a CT scan
If you arrive on your CT scan, you’ll be requested to alter right into a hospital robe. The technician doing all of your scan could insert an IV catheter in your arm or leg and ask whether or not you’ve eliminated any metallic gadgets or medicine patches previous to your arrival.
They might additionally evaluate why you’re having the scan, any allergic reactions you will have, and different particular directions.
When it’s time to start the scan, you’ll be positioned on an extended slender desk, and chances are you’ll be secured in place with velcro straps or different security gadgets. The desk will slide out and in of the round scanner relying on which components of your physique should be visualized.
The technician will depart the room earlier than working the scanner and should offer you directions over an intercom.
Because the desk strikes out and in of the scanner, the machine will rotate round you making a loud noise. Chances are you’ll be requested to carry your breath or keep sure positions. In any other case, it’s best to maintain as nonetheless as doable to forestall the scanner from capturing blurry pictures.
The whole course of ought to take between 20 minutes and 1 hour.
After your CT scan
As soon as the CT scan is over, the photographs are despatched to a radiologist for examination. A radiologist is a health care provider who focuses on diagnosing and treating situations utilizing imaging methods, corresponding to CT scans and X-rays.
Your physician will comply with up with you to clarify the outcomes.
There are only a few dangers related to a CT scan. These embody:
- publicity to radiation
- allergic reactions to distinction dyes
- elevated most cancers danger with a number of scans
If in case you have an allergy to distinction dye, your physician could select to do the scan with out distinction. If utilizing distinction is completely obligatory, your physician could deal with you with steroids or different drugs to assist forestall an allergic response.
After the scan, the distinction dye you got shall be eradicated naturally out of your physique via your urine and stool. Distinction dye could cause some pressure to the kidneys, so chances are you’ll be instructed to drink a whole lot of water after your examination.
CT scan outcomes are thought-about typical if the radiologist didn’t see any of the next within the pictures:
- blood clots
- different atypical traits
If any atypical traits are detected throughout the CT scan, chances are you’ll want additional checks or therapies relying on the kind of atypicality discovered.
CT scans are a wonderful instrument for diagnosing issues with mushy tissues, blood vessels, and different physique components that may’t be seen with X-ray or ultrasound imaging.
These painless scans don’t require a lot preparation and could be completed rapidly in emergency conditions. A CT scan takes lower than an hour to do, however chances are you’ll not get outcomes instantly relying on who’s deciphering the outcomes.
Your physician will let you already know if a distinction dye is important on your scan and what motion it’s worthwhile to take after the photographs are evaluated.