Cat Scan (FAQ)

       
                   

 

What is a CAT Scan?

Advantages of a CT scan compared to an MRI?

Is a CT safe?

 

When and why is "dye" used?

What will the test be like?

Can I drive home after the CT?



What is a CAT Scan?

A CT or CAT scan is a medical imaging device that combines the use of x-rays with computers to produce images that allow physicians to look inside a patient's body. Unlike conventional radiographs, a CT scan can produce clear, extremely detailed pictures of the body's internal structures. It can separate bone from muscle and fat in the part of the body being examined. Much like a conventional radiograph, x-rays pass through the person's body and a computer then reconstructs the information into cross sectional images. These cross sectional images allow the radiologist to evaluate the internal organs as though we looked at the body separated into a series of thin "slices". Having a CT scan can assist your doctor in helping make a diagnosis so he/she can adequately treat your problem. The radiologist performs and interprets the examination and relays the information in a report which is then sent and discussed with your physician. Your physician will then, in turn, discuss the report with you.


What are the advantages of a CT scan compared to an MRI?
A key advantage of CT is its ability to show detailed images of bones, blood vessels, and soft tissue in the same image. Bones in the image don’t obscure the underlying tissues. A CT can also reveal tumors and measure a tumor’s size and location. CT is considered the best method of diagnosing different kinds of cancers. It is also commonly used in diagnosing vascular diseases, detecting osteoporosis, and identifying traumatic injuries to internal organs. Another advantage of CT: The procedure is faster and costs much less than an MRI.


Is a CT safe?
While the patient is exposed to radiation from x-rays, the amount of exposure is considerably less than that of a normal x-ray. In fact, the amount of radiation received from a CT of the head and brain is about the same as the amount of natural radiation exposure received in the environment during a year.

When and why is “dye” used?

Whether or not you need a contrasting liquid or injection depends on the type of study your physician has ordered. A contrasting agent containing iodine, often called “dye,” helps the radiologist to see more definition of the tissues and to visualize the blood supply to internal organs. The contrasting agent can be administered by our staff intravenously or as a drink that you consume several hours before the exam.

The iodine-containing “dyes” are generally quite safe. Our staff will screen your medical history to determine if there is any risk of adverse reactions to the contrasting agent.


What will the test be like?
The CT procedure requires you to lie in a horizontal position, either on your back or stomach, and remain comfortably still. A flat, moving table goes through the center of a donut-shaped x-ray machine. X-ray beams from a number of positions are aimed at the area being studied. A special detector measures the amount of absorbed radiation. This data is transformed by a computer into a digital image.

 

Can I drive home after the CT?
CT requires no sedation and therefore you will be able to drive immediately after the exam, even if
you received a contrasting agent.

 


Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only. It is the sole responsiblity of the user to contact their doctor for any and all medical advice.