CT SCAN DEFINITIONA CT scan (also known as computerized tomography scan) is a series of x-ray views taken from multiple angles that are processed digitally to create cross-sectional images of your soft tissues and bones inside your body. The images are like single slices from a loaf of bread that will give your doctor a better idea of your organ and bodily health.
CT SCAN PURPOSEA CT scan is beneficial when it comes to detecting internal injuries, finding and monitoring diseases (such as liver masses, lung nodules, heart disease, and cancer), help guide procedures like surgery and biopsies, pinpoint the locations of tumors or blood clots, and diagnose muscle and bone disorders.
CT SCAN RISKSYou have the low risk of radiation poisoning because of the multiple amounts of x-rays you'll need to undergo. Moreover, contrast material (the dye used to make an x-ray even clearer than usual that injected into the vein of your arm) can cause allergic or medical problems. Also keep in mind that x-rays are not recommended for pregnant women.
CT SCAN PREPARATION REQUIRED
You may be asked to take off some or all your clothing while wearing a hospital gown, take off your metal possessions, and stop eating for a couple of hours. You'll also be injected with contrast material orally, rectally, or through injection. If you have problems with claustrophobia, you may be sedated.
Image: CT SCAN
Image: CT SCAN
CT SCAN PROCEDUREYou'll be put inside a doughnut-like chamber where you need to hold still while being scanned. The table will move slowly and gently as you get scanned. Each rotation produces several cross-sectional images of your body. Your head may be fitted into a special cradle to hold it in.
CT SCAN COMPLICATIONSComplications include increased risk for cancer due to x-ray radiation exposure, allergic or potentially life threatening reactions to the injected contrast material (usually a dye of some sort) into your bloodstream, and harm to an unborn child due to, again, radiation exposure. If you're sedated, you may also risk allergies.
CT SCAN SIDE EFFECTSThere are no known immediate side effects to a CT scan. There are possible allergic side effects to the contrast dye that's sometimes injected into the patient, though.
CT SCAN RESULTSCT images are kept as digital data files and are typically examined on a computer screen. Radiologists are the ones responsible for interpreting the images and sending the results for you doctor for the sake of making a diagnosis.