CT scans are used by doctors in order to create detailed cross-sectional images of the internal tissues and organs. By using the lowest possible dose of radiation in combination with computer technology, doctors can give patients clear and accurate diagnoses. For those who have never had this particular imaging procedure performed, this preview might help calm your fears or concerns.
What Is a Low-Dose CT Scan?
A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology in order to create images. X-rays use a small amount of radiation in order to show the body’s internal structures and produce images. On average, Americans are exposed to 3.1 mSv of radiation annually. CT scans use a slightly higher amount than that and qualified radiologists use the lowest possible dosage based on the size of a patient.
What Happens During the Exam?
CT scanners have the appearance of a tube with a spinning detector that collects the images your radiologist will use. For some procedures, the radiologist may ask that you abstain from eating for one or more hours prior to your examination.
Your CT scan will proceed as follows:
- While lying on your back, a table will move your body slowly, feet-first, through the machine.
- If needed, your doctor may request contrast for your CT scan procedure. Contrast is a substance that is used during imaging procedures to better understand your medical condition. Contrast material will be administered through an IV or by drinking a flavored substance. Some patients mention an itching or cooling sensation near the injection site or a slightly metallic taste, but it is still relatively safe and painless.
- As you are moved through the machine, your technologist will be able to see, hear and speak to you.
The images and report are created after the procedure is performed, and you and your personal doctor can review the results together to determine your treatment options.
You should inform your doctor if you have medication allergies or an allergy to iodine. You should also let your doctor know if you suffer from diabetes or any heart, thyroid or kidney conditions as contrast material may sometimes cause an adverse reaction in patients with these conditions. Otherwise, CT scans are non-invasive and painless and can provide incredibly useful information for your doctors to use in providing the best treatment options for you.
Doctors Imaging is now offering low-dose CT lung cancer screenings, recommended annually for those at high risk for lung cancer, for the low cost of just $99. Lung screening is performed without contrast. To schedule your appointment, use our online appointment form or call 504-883-8111.