Computed Tomography, or a CT Scan, provides your physician with detailed information related to your health status. We are committed to making your imaging experience as comfortable as possible, and achieve this with friendly care in a welcoming environment.
What is a CT Scan?
A CT scan is a specialized imaging technique used to detect various conditions and diseases. This painless process involves x-ray equipment and may also involve contrast.
Reasons for a CT Scan
There are several indications for CT scan imaging in patients of all ages. CT scans can be performed for many reasons, such as, assessing physical trauma after an automobile accident or other event. It may also be performed on an emergency basis to confirm or rule out internal bleeding, or to explore the potential cause of sudden, acute symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain.
Additional reasons that CT scanning may be scheduled by your physician include the evaluation of:
- Kidney tumors or stones
- Lymphoma and other cancers (CT can confirm the presence and also measure size and location)
- Vascular disease that may precede kidney failure, stroke, or other events.
- Bowel inflammation
- Cystic fibrosis
- Bone density, osteoporosis
Computed Tomography can also be used as a guiding or planning tool for necessary surgical procedures.
How is a CT Scan Performed?
CT scans are performed with the patient lying on a table. Correct position is necessary to obtain the various views required. We may ensure this with the use of pillows. Contrast material, if used, can be administered prior to or during the scan. Administration may be given orally or via IV injection.
To capture images, the exam table moves through the scanner, which is similar to a large donut. Several passes through the machine may occur. The patient may be asked to hold his/her breath in order to enhance image quality. Any movement can detract from the high-resolution of the image.
The entire procedure is typically completed within 30 minutes. Before ending the session the technologist will confirm that the images obtained are sufficient for accurate interpretation.
Preparation may be required for your exam. Please contact our facility to inquire.
CT Scan vs X-Ray
CT scanning uses X-ray emitting equipment to produce more detailed images than plain X-ray alone. When an X-ray is performed, slight radiation passes through the body. On film (or digitally), hard tissue such as bone appears white. Organs and soft tissue are shades of gray. The view is two-dimensional.
CT scanning also captures a two-dimensional image. However, it does so by rotating the X-ray tube around the body in a spiraled path. The volume of data obtained is larger and is processed by computer software to develop cross-sectional “slices” of image. The result is a high-quality internal image that can be processed into 3D representation.
CT Scan Risks
CT imaging provides detailed information to physicians and can be an important part of diagnosis and recovery. Possible risks include:
- Radiation Exposure – Like x-rays, CT imaging is performed only when it is warranted to observe internal structures that would otherwise only be visible with exploratory surgery. There is a small amount of ionizing radiation that is directed at part of the body.
- Contrast material – The most common risk associated with contrast material is an allergic reaction. If you have experienced an allergic reaction to contrast material in the past, it is important that your doctor and GO Imaging are made aware.
- Pregnant women – It is GO Imaging’s policy to not scan pregnant patients. GO Imaging will offer other imaging services to accommodate pregnant patients.
Radiation in CT Scans vs MRI, X-Ray
The radiation exposure that takes place during CT scanning is somewhat higher than traditional x-rays. GO Imaging in Humble has recently purchased one of the few ultra low- dose CT scanners in the area which can reduce radiation by as much as 74%. MRI imaging does not use radiation to capture images, but is not without risk for individuals with metal implants of any type.