Computed Tomography (CT), formerly known as a CAT scan, uses X-ray and computer equipment to produce cross-sectional images of body structures, tissues, and organs. CT imaging provides the unique ability to visualize soft tissue, bones, muscle, internal organs and blood vessels.
What are some of the uses of CT?
- Planning Surgery
- Fracture Assessment
- Quick identification of injuries to the liver, spleen, kidneys, spine, head or other internal organs in the cases of trauma
CT Screening- Abdomen: Used to detect unsuspected abnormalities of liver, kidney, gall bladder, or adrenal glands.
CT Screening- Lung: Formal academic studies have documented potential value in detecting lung cancer at earlier stages, when the cancer can still be surgically removed.
CT Screening- Pelvis: Used to detect asymptomatic, unsuspected abnormalities of bowel, ovaries, prostate gland, or bladder.
Patients should understand that many insurance companies do not reimburse for these screening examinations. All screening tests will be performed without administration of intravenous or oral contrast. It is required that patients obtain a physician’s referral before scheduling these exams. Reports will be sent the patients doctor., as well as directly to the patient. As with other screening tests, patients should understand that results may be inconclusive, and additional tests may be required. Selma Carlson does not recommend such screenings as substitutes for more comprehensive exams or studies. Screening exams are done on a cash pay basis.
What should I expect during this exam?
A CT examination usually takes between five minutes and half an hour.
- The technologist will position you on the CT table. Pillows will be used to help you keep still in the proper position for the scan. The table will move slowly into the CT scanner opening. Depending on the area of the body being examined, the increments of movement may be very small and almost undetectable or large enough to feel the motion.
- To enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels, use of different contrast materials may be required. Depending on the type of exam, these materials may be injected through an IV, swallowed, or administered by rectal contrast. Before receiving the contrast material, you should inform the radiologist or the technician of the following:
- Any allergies, especially to medications or iodine
- Any information regarding a history of diabetes, asthma, kidney problems, heart, or thyroid conditions. These conditions may indicate a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or potential problems with eliminating the material from your system after the exam.
- You will be alone in the room during your scan; however, you can communicate with your technologist at all times through an intercom system, and they will be able to see, hear, and speak with you throughout the entire exam.
What will I experience during this exam?
CT scanning is a painless procedure. Depending on the type of scan needed, individual preparations may differ. Here is an overview of what to expect from the different methods we use to administer contrast materials:
Mouth: A member of our staff may ask you to drink the contrast material, a liquid that allows the radiologist to better see your stomach, small bowel, and colon. Some patients find the taste slightly unpleasant, but tolerable.
IV Injection: To accentuate the difference between normal and abnormal tissue in organs, such as the liver or spleen and better define the blood vessels and kidneys, a contrast material is commonly injected into a vein. You may feel flushed and may have a metallic taste in your mouth, which should pass in a minute or two. In very rare cases, you may experience an allergic reaction. Selma Carlson has a physician on staff at all times during injections.
CT Angiography (CTA)
Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) is the method for imaging the heart and other arteries. It combines innovative image processing with the use of our state-of-the-art 64 slice multi-detector CT scanner. This allows for the rapid acquisition of large volumes of CT data during the peripheral intravenous contrast injection. An advanced computer workstation converts this data into 3-D images. This allows the radiologist to "virtually" see your arterial system.
CT angiograms substitute for more costly and invasive intra-arterial angiograms in specific applications including renal artery angiograms, carotid and cerebral angiography, mesenteric angiography and extremity runoffs. An alternative to diagnostic arteriography, CTA will significantly improve the care and management of patients who undergo evaluation for vascular disease.