CT Scans and Cross-Sectional Imaging
Computerized tomography (CT scan) or Computer Axial Tomography (CAT) scan is an imaging procedure that uses an X-ray machine connected to a computer. The scan creates cross-sectional images or slices of the internal structures of the body. Sometimes, a contrast material or dye may also be injected into your arm or any other part of your body for a better view of a particular area. The internal structures are easily visible on the CT scan with the help of the dye.
Exploring Tumors, Assessing Organs, and Evaluating Treatments
CT scan images allow the doctor to look at the inside of the body and is usually recommended to help diagnose various conditions including:
CT scan is also used to guide procedures such as biopsy, radiation therapy and surgery.
You will be asked to remove any jewelry or metal fastenings that are in the area to be scanned.
The scan may require a contrast dye or substance that improves the picture of certain tissues or blood vessels. This material may be swallowed, given as an enema or injected into the blood stream, depending on the part of your body that is to be scanned.
If you are undergoing an abdominal scan, you will be asked not to eat for six hours before the test.
You can return to your normal routine after the procedure. If a contrast dye was used, you will be instructed to drink plenty of fluids to flush out the dye from the body. In some cases, you may have to wait for an hour to make sure you feel okay after the scan.
Nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after a scan using a contrast dye before resuming breastfeeding.
A CT scan is usually done by a radiology technologist.
Risks and Complications
As with any procedure, a CT scan involves minor risks and complications.
CT scans are generally a safe and painless procedure. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about any concerns you have about CT scanning.