What is a CT scan?
Computed tomography or CT scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan images provide more detailed information than plain X-rays do.
A CT scan has many uses, but it’s particularly well-suited to quickly examine people who may have internal injuries from car accidents or other types of trauma. A CT scan can be used to visualize nearly all parts of the body and is used to diagnose disease or injury as well as to plan medical, surgical or radiation treatment.
Why CT Scan?
Why is CT Done?
Your doctor may suggest a CT scan to:
- Diagnose muscle and bone disorders, such as bone tumors and fractures
- Pinpoint the location of a tumor, infection or blood clot
- Guide procedures such as surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy
- Detect and monitor diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung nodules and, liver masses
- Monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments, such as cancer treatment
- Detect internal injuries and internal bleeding
Preparation for Procedure
Your doctor will advise fasting for four to six hours prior to your CT scan. Some abdominal exams may also require that you fast before the CT scan to ensure the best possible images. Be sure to clarify preparations such as these with your doctor in advance.
CT scans, like other X-rays, are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure. X-rays themselves are painless. Women who are pregnant, however, should not undergo X-ray procedures, as there are risks to the fetus. It’s important to discuss any allergies, medications and existing conditions with your doctor before undergoing any type of diagnostic exam.
The MedTech imaging center has been awarded accreditation after a comprehensive review performed by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This certification confirms that our center meets rigorous standards for practice in CT. We pride ourselves on delivering among the safest CT Scans in Alabama.
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What About the Results of the CT Scan?
Some CT studies require a contrast agent to enhance the pictures that are taken of your body. You will receive special instructions if your exam requires you to consume an oral contrast agent (barium sulfate) in advance. Certain studies may require you to have an IV Contrast (iodine injection).
When your CT Scan is complete you may leave and resume regular activities. If a sedative is administered for your exam you will need to arrange transportation home.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor within 24 hours. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and the next steps with you.
Advantages of CT Scan
Benefits of CT include more effective medical management by:
- Determining when surgeries are necessary
- Reducing the need for exploratory surgeries
- Improving cancer diagnosis and treatment
- Reducing the length of hospitalization
- Guiding treatment of common conditions such as injury, cardiac disease, and stroke
- Improving patient placement into appropriate areas of care, such as intensive care units
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