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How Is A Cat Scan Performed

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Pregnant Women And Children

how a CT (CAT) scan is performed

CT scans are not recommended for pregnant women because there is a small risk that the X-rays may harm the unborn child. Before having a scan, tell your doctor if there’s a chance you may be pregnant.

Children are at greater risk from a build-up of radiation than adults and should only have a CT scan if it is justified by a serious condition that puts them at an increased risk.

Are There Risks Associated With With Contrast

Contrast is usually an iodine or barium based liquid. As such there is always a small chance that it may cause an allergic reaction. Before you are given he contrast you will be asked if you are allergic to iodine, shellfish or seafood. This is because shellfish and seafood has traces of iodine in them naturally and an allergy to them may indicate an allergy to iodine. In such cases, alternative contrasts can be considered.

What Happens After A Ct Scan

If contrast dye was used during your procedure, you may be monitored for a period of time for any side effects or reactions to the contrast dye, such as itching, swelling, rash, or difficulty breathing.

If you notice any pain, redness, and/or swelling at the IV site after you return home following your procedure, you should notify your doctor as this could indicate an infection or other type of reaction.

Otherwise, there is no special type of care required after a CT scan of the abdomen. You may resume your usual diet and activities unless your doctor advises you differently. Your doctor may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.

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What Are Examples Of Nibib

Breast CT scanner.Credit: John Boone, UC Davis

Dedicated Breast CT Scanner: NIBIB is funding research for development of a dedicated breast CT scanner that allows the breast to be imaged in 3D and could help radiologists detect hard-to-find tumors. The scanner produces a radiation dose comparable to that of a standard x-ray mammogram and doesnt require compression of the breast. In this breast CT scanner, a woman lies prone in a specially designed large table with her breast suspended in a special opening in the scanning bed. The scanner rotates around the breast, without passing through the chest, thus reducing the radiation that would be delivered to the chest in a conventional CT scanner. Listen to a podcast about the scanner.

Reduction in Radiation from Routine CT Scans: NIBIB put out a call for researchers to submit groundbreaking ideas that will help to radically decrease the amount of radiation used in CT scans. Five new projects are underway from this new funding opportunity, representing creative, innovative, interdisciplinary approaches that would not have been funded otherwise. You can read more about them below:

What Are The Risks Associated With A Ct Scan


There are very few risks associated with a CT scan. Though CT scans expose you to more radiation than typical X-rays, the risk of cancer caused by radiation is very small if you only have one scan. Your risk for cancer may increase over time if you have multiple X-rays or CT scans. The risk of cancer is increased in children receiving CT scans, especially to the chest and abdomen.

Some people have an allergic reaction to the contrast material. Most contrast material contains iodine, so if youve had an adverse reaction to iodine in the past, make sure to notify your doctor. Your doctor may give you allergy medication or steroids to counteract any potential side effects if youre allergic to iodine but must be given contrast.

Its also important to tell your doctor if youre pregnant. Though the radiation from a CT scan is unlikely to harm your baby, your doctor may recommend another exam, such as an ultrasound or MRI scan, to minimize risk.

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When Would I Get A Ct Scan

Fractures as seen on a CT scan.Source: James Heilman, M.D.,

CT scans can be used to identify disease or injury within various regions of the body. For example, CT has become a useful screening tool for detecting possible tumors or lesions within the abdomen. A CT scan of the heart may be ordered when various types of heart disease or abnormalities are suspected. CT can also be used to image the head in order to locate injuries, tumors, clots leading to stroke, hemorrhage, and other conditions. It can image the lungs in order to reveal the presence of tumors, pulmonary embolisms , excess fluid, and other conditions such as emphysema or pneumonia. A CT scan is particularly useful when imaging complex bone fractures, severely eroded joints, or bone tumors since it usually produces more detail than would be possible with a conventional x-ray.

Obtaining Images When Mri Is Not An Option

MRI and CAT scans are somewhat similar, but there are situations where an MRI is not appropriate, while a CAT scan remains a suitable option. MRI scans can take a significant amount of time to complete. If you have a condition or injury that prevents you from lying still for that time frame, a CT scan can produce a more accurate image in a shorter time.

Those who have medical implants of any kind are ineligible for MRIs and should undergo CT scans instead.

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What Are The Risks Of A Heart Ct Scan

A heart CT scans offer benefits, but it also carries few risks with it.

Contrast Dye

Most of the contrast materials used for CT scans, called the dye, contain iodine. Later, the iodine gets flushed from the body by the kidneys.

If the kidneys are affected by infection or diabetes, one must consume extra fluids after the test to help the kidneys flush out and remove the dye. However, newer and advanced dyes are less prone to cause risk for the kidneys.

Allergic reactions to any iodine-based material are generally categorized as moderate, mild, and severe. If you experience any symptoms, it is best to consult with the doctors. It would help if you did not ignore the following signs:

  • Mild reactions like itching and skin flushing to the contrast material
  • Moderate reactions like severe skin hives or rashes
  • Severe reactions such as difficulty in breathing and cardiac arrest

You are at higher risk of an allergic reaction to the iodine-based material if you have already suffered a previous response to any reaction. Also, if you have already received a significant amount of contrast material in the last 24 hours, you are at a higher risk.

Other risk factors are dehydration, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and specific illnesses like sickle cell anaemia or thyroid gland disorder.

There are several medications available to help you prevent the adverse effects related to iodine-based materials.


What Will Happen During The Exam

What Is a CAT Scan ??
  • The technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have. Then position you on the exam table.
  • If contrast dye is being used, it will be injected through your IV placed in your arm.
  • During the injection, you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal.
  • If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face, please notify the technologist immediately.
  • You will be asked to lie flat on your back. Your arms will be positioned at your sides.
  • Your head will be placed in a holder and you will be asked to hold very still. Only your head will be covered by the scanner. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out.
  • People who fear small, close places usually do not have problems with this procedure.
  • The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.
  • This procedure usually takes approximately 15 minutes.

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What Is A Ct Scan Of The Brain

A CT of the brain is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure that usesspecialX-raysmeasurements to produce horizontal, or axial, images of the brain. Brain CT scans can provide more detailed information aboutbrain tissue and brain structures than standard X-rays of the head, thusproviding more data related to injuries and/or diseases of the brain.

During a brain CT, the X-ray beam moves in a circle around the body,allowing many different views of the brain. The X-ray information is sentto a computer that interprets the X-ray data and displays it in atwo-dimensional form on a monitor.

Brain CT scans may be done with or without “contrast.” Contrast refers to asubstance taken by mouth or injected into an intravenous line thatcauses the particular organ or tissue under study to be seen more clearly.Contrast examinations may require you to fast for a certain period of timebefore the procedure. Your physician will notify you of this prior to theprocedure.

Other related procedures that may be used to diagnose brain disordersincludeX-rays,magnetic resonance imaging of the brain,positron emission tomography scan of the brain, andcerebral arteriogram.

How Ct Scans Work

CT scanners are large machines shaped like a donut, which contain an x-ray tube and detectors on opposite sides. In the center is a short tunnel, where the examination table slides in and out. When you enter the scanner, the x-ray equipment rotates around you, producing vital internal images. The full scan should take just a few minutes, making it a less stressful procedure for those who suffer from claustrophobia.

Preparation for a CT scan depends on whether your doctor has ordered a contrast examination. If so, you will need to refrain from eating anything for a few hours before the procedure, according to your doctors instructions. With intravenous contrast, youll receive an injection of dye that may make you feel warm or flushed and produce a metallic taste in your mouth. You will also need to remove any jewelry or metal from your person.

After a CT scan, you can continue your day normally. If you underwent a contrast scan, be sure to drink several glasses of water throughout the day to aid in the elimination of the dye.

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What Is A Ct Scan Of The Abdomen

Computed tomography is a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, organs, and blood vessels. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays.

In standard X-rays, a beam of energy is aimed at the body part being studied. A plate behind the body part captures the variations of the energy beam after it passes through skin, bone, muscle, and other tissue. While much information can be obtained from a standard X-ray, a lot of detail about internal organs and other structures is not available.

In computed tomography, the X-ray beam moves in a circle around the body. This allows many different views of the same organ or structure. The X-ray information is sent to a computer that interprets the X-ray data and displays it in a two-dimensional form on a monitor.

CT scans may be done with or without “contrast.” Contrast refers to a substance taken by mouth or injected into an intravenous line that causes the particular organ or tissue under study to be seen more clearly. Contrast examinations may require you to fast for a certain period of time before the procedure. Your doctor will notify you of this prior to the procedure.

How Harmful Is A Ct Scan

CT scans performed in 2007 may have exposed patients to ...

The radiation exposure from a CT scan is higher than that from standard X-ray procedures, but the increase in cancer risk from one scan is small, the National Cancer Institute noted.

The main worry is how the exposure adds up over time. Some experts believe CT scans are not necessary in many cases and needlessly expose patients to radiation. Multiple CT scans in kids have been linked to later cancer risk.

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Examining Head And Brain Injuries Or Issues

A CAT scan of the head provides images of the brain that can be used to evaluate:

  • Head injuries

Although less common, a head CT can also be used to:

  • Evaluate of soft tissue and bone damage after facial trauma.
  • Plan for surgical reconstruction.
  • Diagnose issues with the temporal bone in the skull that can cause hearing problems.
  • Identify inflammation in the sinuses.
  • Guide the needle for a brain biopsy.
  • Assess aneurysms.

Cat Scan Vs Ct Scan: Whats The Difference

Medicine is a field with countless acronyms. Two that can be confusing are CAT scan and CT scan. Sometimes thought to be different types of diagnostic tests, they actually refer to the same X-ray procedure. CAT stands for computed axial tomography and CT is simply computed tomography. CAT scan was the first of the two terms to be used CT scan has become more common in recent years. These two procedures are the same, though.

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What Can I Expect After Getting A Ct Scan

If intravenous contrast dye was used, you may have soreness at the site of IV line for up to a few hours. If a biopsy, joint injection, and/or aspiration, or nerve root block was performed, soreness at the site of needle placement may last up to a few days or a hematoma with swelling and a black and blue appearance can develop at the site of needle placement. If you had a therapeutic injection you will receive a discharge instruction form.

How Long Does It Take To Get Results

CT (Computed Tomography) Scan: What to expect

The results of the scan usually take 24 hours. A radiologist, a physician who specializes in reading and interpreting CT scan and other radiologic images, will review your scan and prepare a report that explains them. In an emergency setting, such as a hospital or emergency room, healthcare providers often receive results within an hour.

Once a radiologist and your healthcare provider have reviewed the results, you will either have another appointment or receive a call. Your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you.

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Be Confident In Your Ct Scans At Health Images

When your doctor orders a CT scan and you havent had one before, its normal to be a little apprehensive. Luckily, when performed by qualified and caring technologists, CT scans can be a simple and short procedure that helps flesh out the care plan youll receive for any conditions you may have.

Health Images provides world-class medical imaging to patients in the Denver and Boulder areas. Why get a CAT scan at Health Images? Because we prioritize safety, provide exceptional service to make the whole process as comfortable as possible. To learn more about our services, contact one of the many Health Images locations in Colorado.

What Is A Ct Scan

A computed tomography scan also called a CT or CAT scan is an imaging test that lets doctors see inside a persons body. As a patient lies still on a table, special X-ray equipment takes pictures from different angles to create cross-sections of the body. The slices can be looked at individually or together to create 3-D views of tissues and organs, according to the National Cancer Institute. The test is painless and usually done on an outpatient basis.

In some cases, a contrast dye is injected into the patients vein or a patient is asked to drink it to help parts of the body show up more clearly on the image. The test lasts anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour, depending on the size of the area being scanned.

They can detect the following conditions, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • broken bones

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Benefits Of A Ct Scan

  • CT scans have shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems.
  • CT scanning is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
  • New state-of-the art CT scanners produce superior exams using a fraction of time and radiation exposure. At HSS, we practice ALARA protocols for all our patients, including in children. New technologies make faster scanning possible. For children this means shorter imaging times and less time required to hold still in order to produce clear, crisp images. Also, shorter scan times will make it easier for children and adults to hold their breath during critical parts of the exam. Scanning helps to reduce the need for sedation in children.
  • A major advantage of CT is its ability to image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.
  • Compared to , CT is less sensitive to patient movement and can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind.
  • CT imaging provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and needle aspirations. Sometimes is substituted for CT as a method of image guidance for procedures, especially in children.
  • A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.

Who Performs And Interprets The Ct Scan

Now thatâs a cat scan! Zoo uses pioneering technology to ...

The CT scan is ordered by your referring physician and is interpreted by a radiologist. A radiologist is a physician with dedicated training in the safe utilization of imaging equipment and cross-sectional image interpretation. The radiologist will protocol the specific examination parameters. A specially trained technologist will operate the CT scanner according to the prescribed protocol. The radiologist will supervise and confirm that the examination is performed accurately, interpret the study, and provide a written report to your physician. All radiologists at HSS are certified by the American Board of Radiology and have experience and/or fellowship training in orthopedic conditions.

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