CT Scan

Table of Contents

Computed Tomography Scan, or usually referred to as CT Scan, is a medical imaging procedure that uses computer-processed combinations with special X-rays to capture anatomical images of the inside of the body.

CT Scan was developed as part of modern medical science in the field of radiology. Since CT Scan was first introduced in the 1970s, it has become an important tool to identify various diseases in internal organs (internal injuries).

The CT radiographer is specially trained to operate and conduct a CT scan procedure

Purposes of CT Scan

CT Scan is a non-invasive diagnostic testing — this means that the diagnosis is made without contact or making a break in the skin. CT scans can examine body parts, such as: 

  • Neck.
  • Head.
  • Heart.
  • Abdomen.
  • Lungs.
  • Axial Bone.
  • Blood vessel.

A CT scan of the head or also called a Cranial CT Scan helps provide a diagnosis of numerous health complaints in the head area, such as tumors, head injuries and strokes.

Cranial CT Scan may be performed with or without using “contrast” — a substance that is given by mouth or via intravenous injection. The use of contrast will help doctors see organs or tissues more clearly. 

A CT scan procedure offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • CT Scan is a painless, noninvasive and accurate medical imaging technique.
  • CT Scan has proven to be a cost-effective imaging tool for numerous clinical problems.
  • A diagnosis determined by CT scan procedure may eliminate the need for surgery and surgical biopsy. 
  • A major advantage of CT scanning 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, bones, and blood vessels.
  • CT Scan procedures are quick and simple; in emergency cases, a CT scan can reveal internal injuries and bleed quickly enough to help save lives.

Cost Estimation for CT SCAN

The cost for CT scanning procedures may vary from hospital to hospital. 

For a more accurate cost estimation of CT Scan procedure, contact Smarter Health.

Pre-CT Scan

There are numerous reasons why you may require a CT scan. The images produced by a CT scan help doctors diagnose disease more easily. Before undergoing a CT scan procedure, you need to consult your doctor regarding your health complaints. 

Your doctor will let you know if he or she finds it necessary to perform CT scanning for further diagnosis. Cranial CT scanning may help diagnose the following conditions: 

  • Stroke.
  • Tumor.
  • Birth defects.
  • Brain injury
  • Bleeding in the brain.
  • Brain aneurysms 
  • Brain atrophy 
  • Skull deformities
  • Abnormal blood vessels.
  • Hydrocephalus; buildup of fluid in the brain.

There are several preparations required before the CT scan procedure. These preparations include:

  • You are expected not to eat or drink for several hours before undergoing the CT scan procedure. You also need to let your doctor know if you have certain allergies that may affect the procedure 
  • You are required not to use various metal objects such as glasses and jewelry. If possible, you may be asked to remove your braces. Assistive devices also need to be removed.If you are female, you are not expected to wear underwire bras. Piercings of all kinds also need to be removed. This is necessary to obtain an accurate CT image 
  • You should inform your doctor and the CT radiographer if you have a disease such as cell myeloma, asthma, heart problems, diabetes, kidney or thyroid disorders. You should also inform your doctor if you are currently in the midst of medical treatment for another disease
  • You should tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant
  • You may be given a gown to wear during the scan. 
  • You will be asked to sign a medical consent form as proof of an agreement between you and the hospital. The consent form explains the risks and side effects that may arise  after your CT scan procedure. This is especially important if the CT scan procedure uses contrast given by mouth or intravenously

During CT Scan

There are several stages during a CT scan procedure:

  • If the CT scan uses contrast material, then you will be given the substance first
  • You will be instructed to lie down on a flatbed, with your head pointed towards a large circular scanning machine.
  • Your CT radiographer will operate from another room connected through a large glass window. An intercom will enable two-way communication between you and the radiographer 
  • You will be asked to remain still (not doing any motions) during the scanning. The CT radiographer may even ask you to hold your breath.
  • The scanner then starts moving towards the targeted body part
  • The data generated by the scanner machine is then transferred to a computer. The computer then processes the data into an image that will be read by your CT radiographer.
  • If contrast material is used, you may experience certain sensations that last for a few moments, such as a metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness, nausea and wanting to vomit
  • You should tell your CT radiographer if you have difficulty breathing, numbness and heart palpitations.
  • After the CT exam is complete, you may get up from the bed.

Post-CT Scan

You may be allowed to go home shortly after the procedure and return to your activities as usual. However, if contrast material is used during the scanning, you may be asked to wait in the hospital for one hour in anticipation of an allergic reaction. You may also be advised to drink lots of water to prevent the contrast material damaging your kidneys.

Understanding Your CT Scan Results 

The images produced by the CT Scan will then be read by your CT Radiographer. Your CT radiographer will then send an official report to your doctor that orders the exam. Your doctor will then analyze the images.

Your doctor will then explain if you require a further exam. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform a follow-up exam because a potential abnormality needs to be further evaluated by other methods or special imaging techniques besides the CT scan procedure. A follow-up exam may also be done to see if there has been any change in an abnormality over time. Furthermore, follow-up exams are sometimes the best way to see if treatment is working optimally. 

Side-Effects of CT Scan 

There are some risks of CT scanning that you should be aware of. You have to consider the radiation effects before undergoing a CT scan procedure. Though, CT scan is a relatively safe procedure as it uses a low dose of x-rays

However, you have to consult your doctor if you have had past radiation therapy. A report from the Harvard University medical journal states that the chance of getting cancer from a single CT scan is only about 1 in 1000 people.

You may opt to undergo another medical imaging technique if your main concern is being exposed to X-ray radiation. There is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of the inside of your body. However, an MRI procedure costs more than a CT scan.

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