What is a CT Scan?

CT ScanHere at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we find that first time patients to our facility have a lot of general questions they might be prepared to ask. That is what our FAQ section and blog is for: to help our patients get more information so that they feel more comfortable when coming in for their procedures. One of the most common of the questions: what is a CT scan anyways? Well, let’s find out.

What Does CT Stand For?

CT stands for “computed tomography.” Let’s begin our lesson about CT scans by breaking down the name of the procedure. Tomography comes from the Greek word tomos meaning “slice.” Tomography refers to any form of imaging displaying a cross section through the body or object using either X-ray or other technologies. Computed tomography is combining the X-ray features with computer technology in order to create the highly detailed images or slices that physicians use to diagnose and treat patients.

How Do CT Scans Work?

CT scans are extremely beneficial because they allow medical professionals to see into the interior of the body without making incisions. This technology was not available 40 years ago which lead to a lot of invasive, exploratory procedures that may or may not have yielded conclusive results.

As we stated earlier, CT scans use the power of X-rays and computer software in order to create medical images. If you have never a CT scanner before, it looks like a large circular chamber with a bed inside in which patients lay down and are then slowly placed inside the circular chamber or “gantry.” The interior of the chamber is equipped with video and microphone so CT technicians and doctors can still hear and see you.

CT scans do not take too much time, at most 30-45 minutes. It is very important for patients to remain as still as possible in order to produce the clearest images. Inside the CT’s opening, on one side there is a X-ray tube that emits X-rays and on the other side of the circle is a large detector. As the machine makes a entire rotation,  X-rays move through the body and are caught by the detector. The detector captures the X-rays as one “slice” or angle and transfers them to computer software that translates the image.

What are CT scans used for?

What a CT scan searching for in the body is dependent on what the patient needs. Doctors use CTs for a number of reasons: broken bones, cardiovascular problems, blood clots, bleeding, cancer detection and much more. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our Siemens CT machine can take up 64 slices of an area of the body ensuring thorough examination for patients and accurate diagnosis for doctors.

If you have more questions about what a CT scan is, what to do to prepare for your CT or what to expect, you can visit our CT Services Page. If you would like to schedule a CT appointment you can do so through our Request an Appointment page or you can call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8:00am until 5:00pm.

Do Your Research to Save on the Cost of CT Scans

You probably heard this phrase a time or two from your parents when deciding on a college, picking out a new car, or negotiating a job opportunity, “Shop around for so you can get the best deal.” While your parent’s advice probably proved right more times than you can count, it still applies in the adult world. A recently published article from NPR shows us that shopping around, even for medical imaging, can help you save money and find a better facility.

Under normal circumstances, your parents wouldn’t be too concerned with finding the lowest price when it comes to a medical procedure, they want you to have the best care that will keep you healthy, regardless of the cost. However, because medical imaging isn’t invasive there is more room to find a budget-friendly alternative than a hospital.

The cost of CT scans can be different depending on the facility that you have them performed at but for many patients, searching through different independent medical imaging centers can save as much as $100-$200. That may not seem like much but it is when you are dealing with a host of other medical bills, anywhere that you can save is appreciated.

When you come to Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we can guarantee that most of our patients have paid less at our facility than they would have at a hospital in the area. And for those concerned, just because the price is lower does not mean that any decrease in the quality of care. At Doctors Imaging, we offer a 15 minute consultation session with patients before they undergo any imaging procedures. We are committed to making all visitors to Doctors Imaging feel as comfortable as possible. We do this for two reasons: to make sure that we can capture the most useful images for physicians and so that patients can have a pleasant experience at our offices.

We accept most every insurance plan and take all major credit cards. We are even open to setting up a payment plan for patients that need to space out their payments. We are here to make our patient’s lives easier and we will continue to do so with affordable pricing and special attention to quality customer care. That means value.

So if you are worried about the cost of CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, X-rays or PET-CT scans, please contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie and let us see if we can match a better price. Call us today at 504-883-8111.

Understanding CT Scans and Their Remarkable Images

CT scans have been a tool for diagnostic medicine for several decades. As medical technology and research become more advanced, this tool has been found in places other than hospitals, places like laboratories and history books. By using the power of CT machines, numerous educational institutions are able to use CT technology to decipher and explain the mysteries of the past.

CT scans, or computed tomography, use computer technology along with X-ray capabilities to photograph the internal organs. CT imaging produces cross-sectional images of the organs, so that doctors do not just see a flat picture, they see splices of the examined area. With CT scans, doctors can see through, into and around different body parts without the impediment of things like bones and muscles. This allows for a high level of detail and accuracy when looking at a patient’s body and finding the cause of disease.

Understanding CT scans is a key skill for historians that specialize in the discovering that which has been dead and buried for centuries. For many archeologists and scholars, CTs can provide answers that no other method of academia can. They can even act as a forensic tool in solving centuries old mysteries. The most recent example of this is British scholars finding the skeleton of King Richard III, a man who died over 500 years ago. While the stories and portrayal of King Richard III may be varied and less than perfect, what cannot be denied is how he died, thanks to understanding CT scans.

For many centuries, the skeleton of King Richard III was misplaced, a highly unusual fact for a person of royalty. In 2012, a group of scholars matched a map of the Battle of Bosworth Field and found what they believed to be the King’s skeleton underneath a mediocre parking lot in central London. However amazing their discovery might have been, without concrete, forensic evidence, there would be no way to prove that this was the skeleton of a former English ruler.

Different accounts of Richard III remark at his physical appearance, most notably, a hunchback. The unearthed skeleton contained a spine curvature combined with his location, those who found him were positive that it was the former king. Historians were able to test the DNA of surviving relatives to Richard III find out more about his appearance and answer the question as to how he died. By understanding CT scans and examining the skull, they were able to determine 2 specific blows to the head as well as an additional 11 other harmful injuries on the body that likely contributed to his death. They were able to discover these facts about a 500 year old skeleton thanks to the high imaging features of CT scans. Imagine what they can see in you!

CTs work to take “slices” of the body’s interior, meaning that if there is a spot or area to be examined, the machine takes several images of the same part but from multiple angles, ensuring that nothing is missed.  They are able to uncover what cannot be seen by the naked eye. And for patients that need CTs, they are the best way to get critical medical information without making any incisions. Because of the low dosage of radiation used in CTs, children and senior citizens can experience the benefits and advantages that CTs offer. This technology helps so many doctors and their patients, as well as scholars and their students, find answers and help maintain a high quality of life.

If you have other questions about what CTs can see and do, check out the CT Scan Service Page on Doctors Imaging website or you can call 504-883-8111 and speak to a representative.

What do CT Results Look Like? What is my Doctor Looking For?

CT scans are a commonly performed medical imaging procedure because they generate incredibly useful information while providing just a low level of discomfort for the patient. CT, or computed tomography scans, are helpful due to their use of a combination of X-ray and computer technology to create the images that doctors and patients will examine together to find the best treatment options.

When doctors ask patients to undergo a CT scan, there could be a number of reasons why. CT scans are primarily used for looking at the different tissues of the body such as: lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels. Doctors will also order these scans when they need to examine the chest or body prior to surgery or after an injury. Other reasons to have this procedure would be for the diagnosing of cancer, skeletal malformations and vascular dysfunction.

Once you have had your CT scan performed, the results will be prepared for patient and doctor review. CT technology creates cross-sectional images of the internal structures meaning that the images will be layers or splices of the same location. To the unfamiliar patient, all of the images may look similar or unrecognizable. Doctors will walk the patient through the results and answer any questions they may have.

By having several layers of images of the same structure, doctors are able to observe the structure from different angles. This kind of imaging assists doctors by allowing them to see the size, shape, depth, location and degree of growth of the examined area. This will help doctors in their diagnosing capabilities and finding the best treatment options for the patient. The most up-to-date and thorough information is best for keeping you healthy and informed. Speak to your doctor today if you would like to schedule an appointment for a CT scan or if have further questions or concerns.

If you require a CT Scan in the Greater New Orleans or Metairie area, contact us at Doctors Imaging. We’re Radiologists concerned about patient care. You can either schedule your appointment via online form, or give us a call at 504-883-8111.

How Do CT Machines Create Images?

If you are considering having a CT procedure performed, you are likely wondering how this machine can create the images that your radiologist will review. Medical imaging is a field of medicine that is continuously changing and making better innovations and discoveries. But for the patient, trying to understand these innovations and technologies can be difficult. The key to having the best medical experience for both doctor and patient is gaining information and finding treatment. When the patient understands fully the procedures that they will be undergoing, they will have less anxiety and allow for the doctor to perform his duty to the best of their ability.

A CT scan, or computed tomography, is a medical imaging procedure that uses computer technology in combination with X-ray capabilities in order to create images. A CT machine looks like a large donut with a portal through the middle. When you have this procedure performed, you will lie on the exam table on your back and be slowly moved through the portal. From this point, you may hear a whirring sound and see the machine spinning around you. This is because CT machines are now formatted with a helical or spiral mechanism that creates the cross-sectional images your radiologist will view. CT machines use thin beams of radiation to view the internal structures which are absorbed on the other side of the portal. The information gained is then submitted into a computer that calculates the images into sections or layers. That way doctors can see throughout an organ or cavity instead of just on top of it.

For some CT scans, your doctor may recommend using contrast material. Contrast material is common in CT scans and allows for certain structures or masses to become clearer in images. Contrast material can be administered through an IV or by mouth. If you have kidney problems, let your doctor know because contrast material can occasionally affect the kidneys in some patients.  If you have radiation concerns, know that most of the newer CT scanners are of the helical fashion and use significantly less radiation than traditional scanners.

These machines are extremely important to physicians for the diagnosis of diseases and determining treatment options. If you have other concerns or questions, speak to your physician or radiologist about your options with medical imaging procedures.

Looking for a CT Scan in the New Orleans or Metairie, LA area? Schedule your appointment with Doctors Imaging by calling 504-883-8111 or using our online appointment form.

How Invasive are Medical Imaging Procedures?

The innovations made within the medical technology field have taken away a vast amount of risk and pain done during these procedures, but sometimes in order to get the best images so that your doctor can make the most informed diagnosis possible requires a bit of discomfort. Depending on the concern or condition, there are a variety of medical imaging procedures that can be performed with various degrees of invasiveness. Luckily most of these procedures do not take long and if you have serious concerns or a condition that would make performing these procedures unbearably painful, you should speak to your doctor about different options and features that can still be performed. For this article, the procedures will be ordered from least to most invasive.

X-Ray

X-rays are painless and not invasive at all. The joints and bone structures of the body are imaged while the patient remains still on the procedure table. If a patient is pregnant or may be pregnant, they should inform their doctor. The radiation used in X-rays is an extremely small amount and a lead shield can protect the fetus if the test is medically necessary, but there may be other avenues of imaging that your doctor can perform instead.

PET-CT Scan

For these scans, your facility or doctor may request that you not eat anything for four hours prior to the exam and drink a lot of water. Contrast material is also used in this procedure. Contrast material will be administered intravenously and will require that the patient remain still for 30-90 minutes so that the contrast material has opportunity to circulate.

MRI Procedure

MRI is extremely low in its degree of invasiveness. Despite the slight prick of IV administration of contrast fluid, some patients experience a sense of claustrophobia entering the MRI machine. If this an issue for you, speak to your doctor about having a friend or family member in the procedure room with you or for more serious cases, your doctor may be able to provide you with a mild sedative.

CT Scans

CT scans are a painless procedure. Some doctors may require patients to not eat at least an hour prior to the examination. Contrast material is also used in CT scans and can be administered either through IV or by swallowing. Some describe a metallic taste in the mouth, or slight itchiness around the injection site. If a patient experiences more serious symptoms, it could be indicative of an allergic reaction or a type of condition that reactions to the contrast fluid.

Ultrasounds

Depending on the area or conditioned being examined, an ultrasounds procedure has varying degrees of invasiveness. None are particularly painful just slightly uncomfortable. Speaking with your doctor about your concerns can help to minimize the unpleasantness. And for determining and monitoring pregnancy, detecting signs of infertility or for examining reproductive organs, some patients may have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound in which the transducer is placed in the vagina to image organs like the uterus and ovaries.

On the whole, imaging procedures performed today are minimally or non-invasive. If you’re looking for safe and comfortable imaging procedures in the New Orleans, Metairie, or Kenner area, please call 504-883-8111 or schedule your appointment online today.