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CT Scans

What is a CT scan? 

What is a CT Scan? Computed Tomography or CT scan is also known as a CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan. This is a unique examination because it combines the use of X-rays and a computer to produce clear, sharp pictures within your body. The images of your body are divided into slices, much like slices from a loaf of bread. The radiologist is able to see bones and soft tissues within your body using a CT scan. This diagnostic tool provides a quicker, more accurate diagnosis of many medical conditions that are very difficult to detect with regular X-rays. 

CT Scan vs. regular X-ray 

Regular X-ray images are produced by passing X-ray beams directly through the body and then capturing a single projection on a detector plate. CT scanning uses X-rays to produce an image in a very different way. The ring-like structure of the scanner moves around your body, sending and receiving X-ray beams from around the circle. The computer takes the data and creates a visual image of each slice of information. The radiologist is able to review the slices of information in sequence, which creates a two-dimensional image of the inside of your body. Compared to standard X-rays, CT scanning has the ability to distinguish small tissue density differences. This makes the diagnosis of soft tissue and bone problems better

Frequently Asked Questions 

 Will the CT exam hurt?
CT is a painless, non-invasive test that will not hurt. Your exam may require that a contrast agent be given intravenously to make your blood vessels and tissues more visible. You will then be asked to lie still once the technologist has positioned you appropriately on the table. 

How long will the exam take? 

The length of your CT exam depends on which particular study, or studies, your doctor has ordered. Most exams are quick and painless, lasting just a few minutes. You may be asked to arrive at the facility 15 or 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time. 

What is a contrast agent? 

A contrast agent is a liquid substance that makes certain tissues stand out more clearly against their surroundings, enabling the finest details to show up on the X-ray, improving diagnostic quality. You may be given the contrast agent intravenously or orally. In all cases the contrast agent will leave your body naturally within a few hours. If your exam does require a contrast agent, be sure to tell the technologist if you have any allergies especially to iodine or shellfish. 

Will I be alone during the exam?

 During your CT exam you will be in contact with a technologist. Even when he or she is outside the CT room you will be able to communicate via intercom and be seen through a window. 


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