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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What to Expect from a CT Scan

CT scans, or Computed Tomography, is a diagnostic procedure that helps in the diagnosis of different conditions within the body. CT scans can provide a closer look at different areas within the body such as muscles, tendons, soft tissues, blood vessels and bone.

Like any diagnostic procedure you might have some questions about what it looks for, how it works and what to expect during the procedure. Sevenoaks Medical Centre explains what a patient can expect from a CT scan.

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan uses X-Rays and sophisticated software to produce detailed 2D and 3D images of the body.

These images are used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, including:

•    Vascular diseases
•    Musculoskeletal disorders
•    Muscle injuries
•    Joint injuries
•    Heart disease
•    Cancers

A CT scan may be part of a range of diagnostic procedures you have to undertake in order to reach a diagnosis.

How does the procedure work?

Essentially a CT scan involves a patient wearing a gown, removing all metallic objects and lying down on a motorized bed that then moves through the circular scanner taking pictures at intervals.

This process takes a number of images, individual cross sections of a body, which allow for analysis of different tissues at intervals along the body.

Once the scan is complete the images can then be sent to a Consultant for analysis.

What else should I be aware of?


Prior to the procedure, depending on the focus of the scan a patient may be asked to fast, or may be asked to refrain from drinking before the procedure takes place. This is to allow for clearer images to be taken.

The scan itself is completely painless, however it is worth noting that much like with an MRI the patient will be in the testing room by themselves, although they will be in contact with the radiographer.

This can be unsettling for some patients, especially children, in these cases it is possible for a parent or guardian to remain in the room, however they will be required to wear protective clothing due to the radiation used as part of the scan.

Following a CT scan the images are sent to the required consultant for analysis before the findings are discussed with the patient. In some cases this could be on the same day as the scan takes place (normally in the event of a private CT scan), otherwise it could require a follow-up appointment.

A CT scan is a routine procedure and not something to worry about. If you do have any concerns or other questions then it always best to raise them with your GP when you are referred.

This is a guest blog entry.

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