What is CT SCAN?
A CT (computerized tomography) scanner is a special kind of X-ray machine. Instead of sending out a single X-ray through your body as with ordinary X-rays, several beams are sent simultaneously from different angles.
The scanner is particularly good at testing for bleeding in the brain, for aneurysms (when the wall of an artery swells up), brain tumors and brain damage. It can also find tumors and abscesses throughout the body and is used to assess types of lung disease.
In addition, the CT scanner is used to look at internal injuries such as a torn kidney, spleen or liver; or bony injury, particularly in the spine. CT scanning can also be used to guide biopsies and therapeutic pain procedures.
How is the test performed?
During a CT scan, the person lies very still on a table. The table slowly passes through the center of a large x-ray machine. The person might hear whirring sounds during the procedure. People may be asked to hold their breath at times, to prevent blurring of the pictures.
Often, a contrast agent, or “dye,” may be given by mouth, injected into a vein, given by enema, or given in all three ways before the CT scan is done.
The contrast dye can highlight specific areas inside the body, resulting in a clearer picture (Please inform the Radiologist or Technologist if you have any allergies especially to medications or iodine or if you have any history of diabetes, asthma, kidney problems, etc as such conditions indicate a higher reaction to the contrast material).
Most scans take about half an hour.
On the day of the test……
- Please wear comfortable clothing while coming for the test.
- Metal objects can affect the image so avoid clothing with zippers and snaps. Please do not bring valuables such as jewelry.
- You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for four hours before the exam.
- Any possibility of pregnancy should be brought to the notice of the doctor.
- Please bring any old scans, if you have, for the comparative study with the previous one(s).
- Your test is performed by a registered technician.
- The images will be interpreted by a board-certified radiologist.
- You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
- A CT technologist will introduce herself/himself to you, explain the test you are having, and answer your questions.
- If your radiographers know you are nervous, they will take extra care in making sure you are comfortable and understand what is going on. Keeping your eyes closed sometimes helps.
After the test…….
You will be able to resume your usual activities. Date and time for the collection of the report shall be communicated to you. Your physician will discuss the test results with you.
Are there any risks associated with the test?
The amount of radiation a person receives during a CAT scan is minimal. In men and non-pregnant women, it has not been shown to produce any adverse effects. If a woman is pregnant, there may be a potential risk to the fetus, especially in the first trimester of the pregnancy.
Very, very rarely, someone has an allergic reaction to the contrast injection. The reaction most often starts with weakness, sweating and difficulty in breathing. It is possible to react to any injection in this way, and the doctors and radiographers will know what to do if you do have this type of reaction.
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