What Is a CT Scan and What Does It Show?
CT scans can detect bone and joint problems, like complex bone fractures and tumors. If you have a condition like cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or liver masses, CT scans can spot it or help. Apr 11, · A computed tomography scan, also called a CT or CAT scan, is an imaging test that lets doctors see inside a person’s body. It can help doctors find datingusaforall.com: NBC Universal.
Xt scans allow doctors to see cross-sectional CT scan images slices of your body. A computerized tomography CT scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create sbow images slices 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 shoow 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.
During a CT scan, you're briefly exposed to ionizing yp. The amount of radiation is greater than you would get during a plain X-ray because the CT scan gathers more-detailed information. The low doses of radiation used in CT scans have not been shown to cause long-term sscan, although at much higher doses, there may be a small increase in your potential risk of cancer.
CT scans have many benefits that outweigh any small potential risk. Doctors use the lowest dose of radiation possible to obtain the needed medical information. Also, newer, faster machines and techniques require less radiation than was previously used. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of your CT scan.
Tell your doctor if you're pregnant. Although the shwo from a CT scan is unlikely to injure your baby, your doctor may recommend another type of w, such as ultrasound or MRI, to avoid exposing your baby to radiation.
At the low doses dcan radiation used in CT imaging, no negative effects have been observed in humans. In certain cases, your doctor may recommend that you receive a special dye called contrast material. This can be something that you are asked to drink before your CT scan, or something that is given through sca vein in your arm or inserted into your rectum. Although rare, the contrast material can cause medical problems or allergic reactions.
Most reactions are mild and result in a rash or itchiness. In rare instances, an allergic reaction can be serious, even life-threatening. Tell your doctor if you've ever had a dows to contrast material. A special dye called contrast material is needed for some CT scans to help highlight the areas of your body being examined. The contrast material blocks X-rays and appears white on images, which can help emphasize blood vessels, intestines or other structures.
If your infant or toddler is having a CT scan, the doctor may recommend a sedative to keep your child calm and still. Movement blurs the images and may lead c inaccurate results. Ask your doctor sxan to prepare your child. You can have a CT scan done in a hospital or an outpatient facility.
CT scans are painless and, with newer machines, take only a few minutes. The whole process typically takes about 30 minutes. CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut what does a ct scan show up on its side. You lie on a narrow, motorized table that slides through the opening into a tunnel.
Straps and pillows may be used to help you stay in position. During a head scan, the table may be fitted with a special cradle that holds your head still. While the table moves you into the zhow, detectors and the X-ray tube rotate around you. Each rotation yields wnat images of thin slices of your body. You may hear buzzing and whirring noises. A technologist in a separate room can see and hear you. You will be able to communicate with the technologist via intercom. The technologist may whst you to hold your breath at certain points to avoid blurring the images.
After the exam you can return to your normal routine. If you were given contrast material, you may receive special instructions. In some cases, you may be asked to wait for a short time before leaving to ensure that you feel well after the exam.
After the different skin types and how to care for them, you'll likely be told to drink lots of fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body. CT images are stored as electronic data files and are usually reviewed on a computer screen.
A radiologist interprets these images and sends a report ip your shkw. Explore Mayo Clinic studies of tests and procedures to help prevent, detect, treat or manage conditions. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
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Radiological Society of North America. Accessed How to become a film producer. McCollough C, et al. Answers to common questions about the use and safety of CT scans. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. ACR-SPR practice parameter for imaging pregnant or potentially pregnant adolescents and women with ionizing radiation. Reston, Va.
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Mar 22, · A CT scan can also show internal injuries and bleeding. The CT scan is useful when an X-ray is not able to identify certain conditions, like blood clots. For example, a chest X-ray might show what looks like pneumonia, but a CT scan can reveal the presence of blood clots in . Should you get a CT scan to detect possible tumors? The answer is yes, and American Health Imaging can help. Sep 28, · A CT (computed tomography) scan, also called a CAT scan, is a type of specialized X-ray. The scan can show cross-sectional images of a specific area of the body.
CT scans are most often an outpatient procedure. The scan is painless and takes about 10 to 30 minutes. CT scans show a slice, or cross-section, of the body. The image shows your bones, organs, and soft tissues more clearly than standard x-rays. They can even show the blood vessels that feed the tumor — all without having to cut into the patient. Doctors often use CT scans to help them guide a needle to remove a small piece of tissue. This is called a CT-guided biopsy.
CT scans can also be used to guide needles into tumors for some types of cancer treatments, such as radiofrequency ablation RFA , which uses heat to destroy a tumor.
By comparing CT scans done over time, doctors can see how a tumor is responding to treatment or find out if the cancer has come back after treatment. In a way, CT scans are like standard x-ray tests. But an x-ray test aims a broad beam of radiation from only one angle.
A CT scan uses a pencil-thin beam to create a series of pictures taken from different angles. The information from each angle is fed into a computer, which then creates a black and white picture that shows a slice of a certain area of the body — much like looking at a single slice from a loaf of bread. Special contrast materials can be used to get a clearer picture. These can be swallowed as a liquid, put into a vein, or put into the intestines through the rectum as an enema.
By layering CT image slices on top of each other, the machine can create a 3-dimensional 3-D view. The 3-D image can be rotated on a computer screen to look at different angles. Doctors are now taking CT technology one step further in a technique called virtual endoscopy.
They can look at the inside surfaces of organs such as the lungs virtual bronchoscopy or colon virtual colonoscopy or CT colonography without actually having to put scopes into the body. The 3-D CT images are arranged to create a black and white view on the computer screen. This looks a lot like it would if they were doing an actual endoscopy. Ask your doctor if you will get contrast dye as part of the CT scan. This is important because reactions to these things may put you at risk for reacting to the contrast dye used in CT scans.
People who have had a severe reaction in the past may need to take drugs usually a steroid, like prednisone to help prevent another reaction. Sometimes these drugs need to be started the day before the scan. In some cases, your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink overnight or for several hours before the test. Or you might need to use a laxative or an enema to clean out your bowel and remove material that could get in the way of seeing inside the belly and intestines.
You may be asked to undress, put on a robe, and remove underwire bras, jewelry, piercings, or any other metal objects that may get in the way of the image. You may be asked remove dentures, hearing aids, hair clips, and so on, as they can affect the CT pictures.
A radiology technologist does the CT scan. Let the technologist know if you have a pacemaker, infusion port, or other implanted medical device. This will not keep you from getting a CT scan, but extra care can be taken if that area will be scanned. The scanner is a large, doughnut-shaped machine. You lie on a thin, flat table that slides back and forth inside the hole in the middle of the scanner.
As the table moves into the opening, an x-ray tube rotates within the scanner, sending out many tiny x-ray beams at precise angles. These beams quickly pass through your body and are detected on the other side of the scanner. You may hear buzzing and clicking as the scanner switches on and off.
You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, but the technologist will be able to see, hear, and talk to you at all times. A CT is painless but you may find it uncomfortable to hold still in certain positions for minutes at a time. You may also be asked to hold your breath for a short time, since chest movement can affect the image. During a CT head scan, your head may be held still in a special device.
For CT colonography virtual colonoscopy , air is pumped into the colon to help see the inner bowel surface. This can be uncomfortable. Depending on the part of the body being studied, you may need to drink contrast liquid or get a contrast enema right before the test. When the contrast is given, you may get a feeling of warmth that spreads through your body. You might also get a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth. A CT scan can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on what part of the body is being scanned.
It also depends on how much of your body the doctors want to look at and whether contrast dye is used. It often takes more time to get you into position and give the contrast dye than to take the pictures. After the test, you may be asked to wait while the pictures are checked to make sure they are clear and show all of the body part.
If not, more pictures may be needed. These symptoms usually are mild and most often go away on their own. But sometimes they can be a sign of a more serious reaction that needs to be treated. Be sure to let your radiology technologist and your health care team know if you notice any changes after getting the contrast dye. In rare cases, people can have a severe allergic reaction that causes low blood pressure or trouble breathing. This must be treated right away. The IV contrast dye can also cause kidney problems.
If you need a scan with contrast dye, your doctor may first do a blood test to check your kidney function. You may also get extra fluids in an IV or medicines to help your kidneys get rid of the dye safely. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
September 23, Accessed at www. August 13, Computed Tomography landing page. Advanced imaging methods: Functional and metabolic imaging. Ionizing radiation. Cancer Medicine. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker; American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material.
For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy. Download this topic [PDF]. What does it show? How does it work? How do I get ready for the test? What is it like having the test? How long does it take? What are the possible complications and side effects? Some people react to the contrast dye. Possible reactions include: Rash Nausea Wheezing Shortness of breath Itching or facial swelling that can last up to an hour These symptoms usually are mild and most often go away on their own.
What else should I know about this test? The amount of radiation you get during a CT scan is a good deal more than that with a standard x-ray. People who are very overweight may have trouble fitting into the CT scanner. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any allergies or are sensitive to iodine, seafood, or contrast dyes. Tell your doctor if you could be pregnant or are breastfeeding. CT scans can cost up to 10 times as much as a standard x-ray.
You may want to be sure your health insurance will cover this test before you have it. Written by References. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing. Last Revised: November 30, Image of. Close Select A Hope Lodge.
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