Why is a CT scan done?
CT Scan uses:
The CT scan helps to detect and diagnose various diseases. It is
also prescribed to assess any bone damage or injuries. It is an effective tool
- Diagnose bone and muscle
disorders. e.g. fractures, bone tumors, etc
- Locate the tumor,
- Examine the blood vessels
- Monitor the progress of
the ongoing treatment of the medical prognosis
- Plan for guided biopsies
- Detect internal injuries
Most importantly, the CT scan is done in an emergency situation as
the results of the imaging process are quick compared to MRI or any other
How to prepare for the scan?
Generally, to take a CT scan, you can continue with your regular
activities, it does not require any special arrangements or diet before the
scan. For better and enhanced images you may be requested to change into loose
clothing i.e. a gown provided by the lab. Carrying metallic contents inside the
CT room will not be allowed as they may interfere with the machine’s
radio-waves, leading to incorrect imaging.
For CT scan with contrast, a contrasting dye may be used to
generate enhanced images of the scanned body part. It may be either injected in
your vein or given as a capsule orally. So in the case of contrast CT scans,
you will be given additional information and instructions regarding it from
How is the procedure performed?
CT scan is a comprehensive imaging process but quick and
non-invasive. It uses the X-Ray mechanism to create images of the body parts.
The machine has a table attached to it(for the patient to lie down). The
horizontal table then goes into the center of the CT machine to produce images.
The X-ray tool in the CT machine circulates around the body part
that is to be examined and takes several pictures in slices. The machine will
exhibit a clicking and whirring sound throughout the procedure. The table might
move front and back to get a complete image of the body part.
It is vital not to change positions or move your body, remaining
still throughout the procedure is a must. Sometimes, you may be asked to hold
your breath for a few seconds to erect a comprehensive picture.
A radiologist will be observing the whole test procedure from the
nearby chamber with the help of a mic and speakers
It usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete a CT scan.
What are the risks involved?
The CT scan doesn’t have any serious risk involved, however, that
can be limited. CT scan is generally considered safe imaging. But if you take
multiple CT scans within a short period or regularly, there are chances of
developing cancer as the X-ray used in the scan exposes the body to radiation.
It is also not advised to take a CT scan if you are in the
pregnancy phase are expected to become pregnant in a while. The
radio-frequencies may sometimes harm the growing baby. So if you are a pregnant
woman, the doctor may ask you to take other imaging techniques such as
ultrasound which are relatively much harmless.
If you have allergic reactions to iodine or contrast dye it is
recommended to disclose it to your doctor before the scan because the contrast
material used for imaging may sometime trigger allergic reactions. There is
also a minute risk of kidney failure due to the use of contrast substance but
this situation is very rare.