A computerized tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays and a sophisticated computer to view specific details of the body’s anatomy. However, unlike traditional X-ray where the radiation beam comes from a stationary source, a CT scan is created by rotation of the X-ray beam in a circle around the patient to obtain a cross-sectional image.
Additionally, multidector spiral CT scans allow high-definition, 3-D imaging to permit greater visualization of blood vessels and internal tissues, such as those inside the chest cavity.
The major benefit of CT is its ability to show internal anatomy in cross-sections commonly referred to as slices. The most common analogy used to describe the cross-sectional view is that of a slice out of a loaf of bread. In CT scanning the slices are very, very thin millimeter sections capable of revealing tiny abnormalities.
Computed Tomography (CT)
CAT scans help physicians identify medical conditions, diseases or trauma. They are commonly done to detect fractures and internal damage in patients who have suffered injuries or to help diagnose patients with specific symptoms (e.g. abdominal pain).
CAT scans can also rule out certain diseases, by showing the specific condition (e.g. a tumor) is not present in the patient. Conversely, these images may also be helpful in determining the next treatment step if a medical condition is known.
Hence, CAT scan images frequently assist in the determination of the extent of a problem, surgical planning, guiding a needle to obtain a biopsy and assessing the effect of treatment.
There are two options for the oral contrast. First option is to pick up the contrast from our office and drink half the night before, and the other half one hour prior to the exam; if you choose this option the patient cannot eat or drink anything after beginning the contrast. The second option is to show up an hour before the exam to drink the contrast in the office.