CT Scans – also commonly known as CAT scans – is a non-invasive imaging test that can help detect, diagnose, and ultimately treat certain medical conditions. CT scans are a painless diagnostic imaging technique often used to analyze the internal structures of the body.
What is a Low Dose CT scan?
CT stands for “computed tomography.” CT uses ordinary X-rays coupled with special detectors and computer processing to create a cross-section of body tissues and organs.
Are CT scans safe?
While CT scans use low doses of radiation, your risk of developing cancer from it is extremely small. Physicians only order a CT scan is if there is a justifiable reason, meaning that the benefit outweighs any potential risk. In addition, our staff aims to obtain the best image possible with the lowest dose radiation, in order to further decrease any associated potential risk.
Do I need to get injected with IV contrast material?
Intravenous contrast material is an organic compound containing Iodine that helps improve the visualization of blood vessels and many organs on a CT scan. IV contrast material is often necessary for proper evaluation of the head, chest and abdomen. Orally administered contrast material is usually necessary for CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis, where it helps visualize the gastrointestinal tract.
Iodinated contrast is very safe. It’s distributed in your blood and is excreted by your kidneys within minutes of the injection. However, if you have ever had kidney failure or a history of an allergic reaction to iodinated contrast, we will not use iodinated contrast.
How do I prepare for a CT scan?
Depending on the part of your body getting examined, we may have different instructions or preparation involved.
What will I experience during and after a low dose CT scan?
With the latest multi-detector CT scanners, most CT exams take less than 10-15 minutes. You’ll be asked to lie on a comfortable table, which will slide into the opening of the machine. If intravenous contrast material is required for your exam, a temporary IV will be placed in your arm by a nurse.
After the exam, you’ll be asked to wait until our technologist makes sure that the images are high-quality for accurate interpretation. However, there should be no effects from the scan or the contrast injection. You may be asked to wait for a short time to make sure that you feel well, but most times, you may go home and continue your normal routine after the exam.
CT scan vs. MRI
CT scans are fundamentally different from MRIs. CT scans use X-Rays to extract information from the human body.