What are CT Scans?
A CT Scan is used to look at the internal structures of the body. Both soft tissues (eg brain, liver, kidneys, lungs) and bone can be seen. The images are cross-sections of the body, but the CT computer can generate a great variety of images, depending on what the doctor is looking for.
How is a CT Scan Done?
CT scanners are very specialised x-ray machines. As you move through the scanner, x-rays are taken and a powerful computer builds a very detailed cross-section image of the internal structure of the part of the body being examined.
To enhance the images, you may be given an injection of x-ray contrast, just before or during the scan. This injection highlights the blood supply to the organs of the body. The contrast is given via a small needle in the arm or hand. The needle is about the size of that used when blood tests are taken. The injection contains an iodine compound. It is important to tell the CT staff if you have any allergy to x-ray contrast. The injection may make you feel warm for a few minutes. It may also give you a metallic taste in the mouth. These feelings are quite normal, although many people experience nothing at all.
You may be asked to hold your breath during the scan, but only for about 15 seconds. This is because breathing will blur the images.
CT Machines that North Coast Radiology Group use all have dose reduction measures in place which are appropriate for your examination, age and body habitus.
Commonly Requested CT Scans
CT Scans are commonly requested for the following areas of the body
- Head, Sinuses
- Neck / Soft Tissue
- Abdomen/Pelvis; General or Urinary Tract
- Spine, Extremities eg hairline fracture of a foot bone
Specialist Studies are also requested for example:
- Angiography of major blood vessels
- Interventions eg Biopsies, spinal injections for pain relief
- CT Coronary Angiography and CT Coronary Calcium Scoring
- Dental scans for implant or dental nerve position
- CT Intravenous Pyelography (IVP) to examine the “urinary tract” (kidneys, ureters and bladder).