FAQ - CT
Q1. What is CT Scan?
A. A “CT” or “CAT” scan is the term used to describe a radiological test known as “computerized tomography.” CT can see inside the brain and other parts of the body, into areas that cannot be seen on regular X-ray examinations. CT makes it possible to diagnose certain diseases earlier and more accurately than with other imaging tools. Because most diseases are better treated when found early, CT scans can help save lives.
Q2. How do CT scans differ from MRI scans?
A. CT and MRI images sometimes look very similar, but the equipment used to perform the scan is different. CT uses ionizing radiation just as with a routine X-Ray, while MRI uses a magnetic field. Depending on the clinical indications, one may be preferred over the other, or both may be desirable. CT scanners are faster and as a result, movement is not as problematic as with MRI scanner.
Q3. What will I feel during the scan?
A. CT scanning causes no pain, just as a routine X-Ray is painless. If intravenous contrast is used, you may feel warm and flush and get a metallic taste in your mouth and you may feel like you are wetting yourself. These sensations normally disappear after a few minutes. Contrast agents are used to image tissues and structures that are not normally seen or not seen very well. Intravenous contrast agents are used to enhance organs and visualize blood vessels. Oral contrast agents are used to visualize the digestive tract.
Q4. Is it uncomfortable? Is it dangerous?
A. The test itself is completely painless but some people find it uncomfortable to lie in the tunnel. As there is little room inside the tunnel, people who suffer from severe claustrophobia sometimes have problems with CT Scans. Depending on the type of study being done, you may be injected with, or be asked to drink, contrast material.
Because contrast agents contain iodine, which causes an allergic reaction in some individuals, you are advised to tell the technician or radiologist if you have had an allergic reaction to these agents before, or if you have any other allergies. CT scanners use X-rays. For your safety, the amount of radiation is kept to an absolute minimum and our equipment is kept in top shape. Because X-rays can harm a developing foetus, you should however tell your doctor if you are, or think you may be, pregnant before preparing for the CT exam.
Q5. Aren’t CT Scans mainly for the head?
A. Originally, CT scans were developed mainly to detect abnormalities in the brain. Technology has become so advanced, however, that CT scans have proven beneficial for all parts of the body.
Q6. How is a CT Scan performed?
A. The scanner looks like a large doughnut. During the scan, the patient lies on a bed with the body part under examination placed in the large round tunnel or opening of the scanner. The bed then moves slowly backwards and forwards to allow the scanner to take pictures of the body, although it does not touch the patient. You should get comfortable because it is very important that you do not move during the test. CT examinations differ depending on your medical problem and the part of your body being studied. The radiologist will plan an examination that is best suited for you. The length of the test depends on the number of pictures and the different angles taken.
For example, if your abdomen is being studied, a series of pictures will be taken from your lower chest down to the upper pelvis. During such a study, you will be asked to hold your breath so that the pictures will not be blurred. As part of your test, before or during the study, you may be given an injection of a contrast agent. This allows the radiologist to obtain clearer images of your organs. If you have any discomfort during the test or after the injection, be sure to inform the technician. All the CT personnel are trained and certified and know how to help you.
Q7. What happens after the scan?
A. Once the CT personnel are sure that enough information has been collected, you may leave and go about your normal activities without restriction.
Q8. How soon can I get the results?
A. Our radiologists who specialize in this type of imaging will review your exam. Reports will be made available the same day.
Q9. Should I have a CT scan if I am pregnant?
A. No. If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be, you should not have a CT scan or any type of X-ray examination. You should inform the technologist if you suspect you may be pregnant. Alternative arrangements may be made to meet your medical needs.
Q10. What prior information should I provide to the doctor before the test?
A. You should volunteer information to the radiologist if you have ailments like asthma, heart or kidney disorders, history of allergy, diabetes, or a previous reaction to contrast media. It is most important for the radiologist to have this information to enable him to choose a contrast medium most suitable to you.
Q11. What happens with a CT biopsy?
A. A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue or fluid for laboratory examination. In needle biopsy, you will feel a small pinch at the site of the biopsy. Local anaesthesia is generally used to make the procedure pain-free. A needle biopsy removes tissue using a hollow tube called syringe. A needle is passed through the syringe into the area of concern. The tissue is taken out using this needle. Needle biopsies are performed in Diagnostic Imaging using CT scan, ultrasound or fluoroscopy which guides the radiologist to the appropriate area.
Equipments used at BABINA Diagnostics:
- SOMATOM Emotion 16-slice CT scanner, SIEMENS
- OPTIMA 660 128-slice CT scanner, GE Healthcare
Online instructions for CT Scan:
On the day of your CT scan, you are advised not to consume anything (both solids and liquids) for three hours prior to your CT appointment.
- Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
- You will be asked to fill out a consent form and a brief questionnaire about your medical history, medications, and allergies.
- An oral contrast will be administered for CT Scan of upper and lower abdomen (pelvis).
- This contrast will be administered before the examination for an hour prior to a scan of the upper abdomen and two hours prior to a scan of both the upper and lower abdomen (pelvis). The reason for this is that it takes 1 hour for visualisation of bowels in the upper abdomen after the oral contrast has been administered and two hours for the contrast to reach the lower abdomen (pelvis) for a CT Scan of both the upper and lower abdomen.
- In quite a few cases, it is not unusual to have a bout of mild loose motions for a day or so after the intake of the oral contrast.
- The contrast is of two types – ionic and non-ionic. The difference between the two is as follows:
- The ionic contrast is known to have more chances of a few adverse reactions which vary from mild nausea to vomiting to a severe shock. However non-ionic contrast has lesser chances of the above side effects and is more safe but slightly more expensive than the ionic contrast.
- For a CT Scan of the brain, a plain study without contrast does not require any preparation. However, the CT Scan of the brain with contrast needs 3 hours of fasting. The idea of fasting is that there is no residual food content in the stomach.
- For a CT Scan of the sinus: The same preparation is required as that for the brain.
- For a CT Scan of the neck and chest, 3 hours fasting is required.
- A plain CT Scan of the chest is followed by an injection of IV contrast.
- For a high resolution CT of the chest, no preparation is required as no contrast is required. However it is advisable to have 3 hours fasting in case there is a necessity to inject a contrast.
- For a CT Scan of the joints and spine, no specific preparations are necessary. However it is advisable to have 3 hours fasting in case there is a necessity to inject a contrast.
- The patient is advised to come in loose, comfortable clothing.
Note - Please bring along all previous medical reports including those of any prior CT Scan to enable our doctor to make an accurate estimation of your medical history.