For some patients, keeping still for some time may be uncomfortable. CT imaging examinations that require the patient to receive iodine contrast injection may cause slight, temporary discomfort while the intravenous needle is placed. Is CT Imaging Safe? Yes, CT imaging is considered a safe examination.
In general, the diagnostic benefit of a CT scan usually outweighs the risk of X-ray radiation exposure or injections of imaging contrast and use of sedatives during the scan. Patients should inform the radiologist or technologist if they have a history of allergies especially to medications, previous iodine injections, or shellfish , diabetes, asthma, a heart condition, kidney problems, or thyroid conditions. Depending on the type of exam you will receive, the length of the actual procedure will typically be between 10 minutes and 45 minutes.
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A few involved CT examinations take longer than 45 minutes. Also, many CT exams require the patient to hold their breath several times. This helps to eliminate blurring from the images, which can be caused by breathing or other patient motion. Please ask specific questions about your CT imaging examination's duration with the technologist before your exam.
Yes, your doctor must give you a referral prescription in order for you to receive a computed tomography CT imaging examination. However, CT can often be performed on an outpatient basis without having to admit the patient to the hospital. You should not move when you are on the CT table and the images are being acquired.
It is important that you not move the body part being imaged until the entire CT exam is complete. CT exams of the chest and abdomen require the patient to hold their breath for a short period of time, perhaps 10 to 25 seconds. This eliminates blurring in the image caused by breathing or other patient motion. You may talk to the technologists or ask a question in between CT data acquisitions. No, CT uses X-rays and only the person being imaged should be in the CT scanner room during the examination.
Not everyone needs an injection for CT imaging. When a contrast injection is needed, a pharmaceutical contrast agent made of iodine is used. Iodine contrast is used to make specific organs; blood vessels or tissue types "stand out" with more image contrast in the resulting picture.
The referring doctor provides the CT department with information about the patient's medical condition and the goal of the CT imaging procedure being ordered. The decision to use or not to use an injection of CT contrast is made based on this information and the body part being examined.
Typically, patients are instructed to wait for 48hours after receiving the CT contrast injection before breast-feeding again. Patients may wish to pump breast milk prior to the CT exam and store it for use during this hour period. Always check with the radiologist and the CT department for their specific recommendations.
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Pregnant woman should not have a CT exam or any X-ray examination, especially if the woman is in her first trimester first three-month period of pregnancy. Depending on the condition, there may be other exams available, such as ultrasound, to help diagnose a medical condition. Pregnant women should always inform their imaging technologist or radiologist that they are pregnant, or may be pregnant. What Happens After the Procedure?
After your CT scan is completed, you may resume all of your normal activities. There should be no ill-side effects and you will be able to drive. This is so that the contrast dye can be quickly flushed from your body and you do not become dehydrated. Give Now. Toggle navigation. Is weight loss surgery for you?
Get your questions answered during a free information session. Learn More. Preparing for a CT Scan. Benefits vs. Benefits Spinal CT scanning is a rapid procedure and offers an accurate evaluation of bone and most soft tissues.
Helical (spiral) CT of the abdomen.
Using the latest equipment, the spine may be displayed in multiple planes and three-dimensional imaging is an option. CT scanning is painless, noninvasive and accurate. A major advantage of CT is that it is able to provide detailed images of bone, lungs and other soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.
CT examinations are fast and simple; in emergency cases, they can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly that helps save lives. CT is shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems. CT may be less expensive than MRI. In addition, it is less sensitive to patient movement. CT can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, unlike MRI. CT provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and needle aspirations of many areas of the body, particularly the lungs, abdomen, pelvis and bones.
A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.
No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination. X-rays used in CT scans usually have no side effects. Risks There is always a slight chance developing from radiation exposure. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis outweighs the risk. The effective radiation dose from CT imaging is about 10 mSv, which is about the same as the average person receives from background radiation in three years.
Spiral CT and Helical CT | CT Scan | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network
Background radiation is natural radiation from earth and space. Women should always inform their physician or CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women because of potential risk to the baby. This loss of image quality can resemble the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object. When the exam is complete, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation.
The CT examination is usually completed within a few minutes. However, if you are required to drink oral contrast you will be asked to arrive approximately two hours prior to your scan time or begin drinking the contrast at home prior to arriving.
CT exams are generally painless, fast and easy. With multidetector CT, the amount of time that the patient needs to lie still is reduced. Though the scan is painless, you may have some discomfort from remaining still for several minutes or from placement of an IV. If you have a hard time staying still, are very nervous, anxious or in pain, you may find a CT exam stressful.
The technologist or nurse, under the direction of a doctor, may offer you some medication to help you tolerate the CT exam. If an intravenous contrast material is used, you will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein. You may feel warm or flushed while the contrast is injected.
You also may have a metallic taste in your mouth. This will pass. You may feel a need to urinate.
However, this is a contrast effect and subsides quickly. If the contrast material is swallowed, you may find the taste mildly unpleasant; however, most patients can easily tolerate it. You can expect to experience a sense of abdominal fullness and an increasing need to expel the liquid if your contrast material is given by enema. In this case, be patient, as the mild discomfort will not last long. Many patients also receive an iodine-based contrast material intravenously injected into a vein to help evaluate blood vessels and organs such as the liver, kidneys and pancreas.
When you enter the CT scanner, you may see special light lines projected onto your body. These lines are used to ensure that you are properly positioned. With modern CT scanners, you may hear slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds. These occur as the CT scanner's internal parts, not usually visible to you, revolve around you during the imaging process. You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, unless there are special circumstances. For example, sometimes a parent wearing a lead shield may stay in the room with their child.
However, the technologist will always be able to see, hear and speak with you through a built-in intercom system.