The full form of CT scan is Computed Tomography. CT scan is an effective imaging technique to visualize the internal organs of our body. The CT is a combination of X-Ray and a special computer to produce detailed pictures of our inner parts.
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Frequently Asked Questions About CT Scan
What is a CT Scan?
A Computed Tomography Scan is the full form of CT Scan. The other name of the CT scan is CAT (Computed Axial Tomography). CT Scan helps to visualize the internal injuries with the help of X-ray beams. They provide a detailed image of our body parts compared to the normal X-ray scan. The report of a CT scan can be used for different studies and it can be done on any part of the body.
Difference between contrast & non-contrast CT scan
The CT scan can either be a contrast-enhanced CT scan (CECT) or a non-contrast CT scan (NCCT). Your physician will recommend you take an NCCT scan or CECT scan on the basis of your diagnosis.
In the case of a contrast-enhanced CT scan, the contrast dye material is injected into the body, to get a better image of the body part examined. The dye material blocks the X-ray beams and appears white in the scan. The contrast CT scan is usually done to visualize the blood vessels or intestines. In the case of a non-contrast CT scan, no special dye is used and it is a plain or normal CT scan.
Why is a CT scan done?
Generally, a CT scan is done during emergencies to examine the damages in the internal organs as it is very quick compared to other imaging techniques. CT scan is useful to
- Detect and locate the tumor, infections, etc
- Evaluate the injuries in the internal organs
- Examine bone damages
- Detect abnormalities in blood vessels
- Plan Guided biopsy
- Monitor the success of an ongoing treatment
What are the body parts covered in a CT scan?
CT Scan is an effective tool to examine the blood vessels, bones, and other soft tissues in different parts of the body. It can be done on almost everybody part such as
- Temporal Bone
- Sacroiliac joint
- Any joint
How to prepare for the CT scan?
CT scan does not require any special preparation. Also, there are no limitations on diet and you can carry on your normal activities. You are not allowed to carry any item with metallic contents inside the CT scan room. The lab technician may ask you to change into the gown provided by the lab.
In the case of the CECT scan, a contrast dye will be used to produce more enhanced images of the body part to be examined. This dye may be given orally or injected into the vein. Your doctor will ask you to fast for a certain period and may provide some special instructions if the contrast dye will be used.
What is the procedure of a CT scan?
The CT scan machine resembles a long tube with an X-ray attached to it. The lab technician will ask you to lie down on a table that slides into the CT machine.
The X-Ray which is attached to the CT machine rotates around the body part to be examined and clicks multiple images in thin slices. You may hear loud buzzing noises due to the rotation. It is very important to stay still throughout the procedure as it may result in a blur or distorted image.
The radiologist will monitor the entire procedure from a different room and will be able to hear and speak to you with the help of a microphone and speakers during the procedure.
The entire procedure of a CT scan will take up to 20 minutes depending on the study and the body part to be examined.
What are the risks associated with a CT scan?
There are very few risks involved in a CT scan. You will be exposed to a limited amount of radiation as the CT scan uses X-ray beams to produce more enhanced images. This radiation exposure is generally harmless. But if the CT scan is done on a regular basis, there are chances of developing cancer over time.
Generally, it is recommended to avoid a CT scan if you are pregnant or expected to be pregnant as the radiation might sometimes harm the fetus.
There are also chances of developing allergic reactions due to the use of contrast dye. If you have some kidney disorders, the use of contrast dye may result in kidney failure. So it is very important to inform your doctor about the allergies to contrast dye prior to the scan.
How long does it take to get the CT scan reports?
The images captured in thin slices will be stored in an electronic form. The radiologist will analyze all the images and then prepares the report.
Generally, the CT scan results will be available within 1 to 3 days of the scan.