Health A to Z Last updated on 2021-02-26 20:46:14
6 Things To Know Before Going For A CT Scan
- Dr. Uma M
- 2 Min Read
CT or Computed Tomography scan is a medical imaging technique that gives explicit internal images of the body. It gives a better image than the usual X-ray image. It can also reveal a detailed view of blood vessels, soft tissues and bones. A CT scan can be used to get images of head, shoulders, heart, spine, chest, abdomen and knee. During the CT scan procedure, you will be asked to lie in the tunnel-shaped machine wherein it will take a series of images of your body from different angles. The technique can be conducted quickly and is minimally invasive. CT scan is suggested by doctors to evaluate injuries and diagnose diseases. If you have been recommended this diagnostic technique, then here are a few things you should be aware of:
It does not hurtA CT scan is not painful. You will be asked to lie on the exam table that slides in and out of the machine. There’s no touching whatsoever. However, you are required to stay still and hold your breath for certain intervals of time as you hear the soft, whirring sound.
A dye may be prescribedA certain dye called contrast can be administered orally or via injection to get clearer or enhanced images. If you have had an allergic reaction to the dye in the past, it is best that you inform your doctor beforehand, as the medication will be prescribed prior to the scan to block the reaction.
Frequent scanning can pose health risksThe X-rays in CT scan carry more radiation than normal X-ray scan, but the amount is still small. Frequent exposure to the ionizing radiation from X-rays may increase cancer risk slightly in children.
Don’t eat but drinkIt is not recommended to eat any solid foods at least 2 hours before your appointment if you have a pelvic/abdominal scan or if contrast dye is to be injected. However, you are required to drink plenty of fluids (water, juice, soup, tea or coffee), so that the image development is clear.
No metal, comfortable clothingMetal objects like earrings, rings, nose pin, hair clips or any kind of jewellery are not permitted as it may interfere with the scan. Remove them at home or prior to your exam. It is also advised that you wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing. Some centres may also provide a gown for the scan.
Not safe for pregnant womenIt is important to let your doctor/technician know that you are or may be pregnant or breastfeeding. The scan can harm your unborn baby. You will probably not be recommended a CT scan if you’re pregnant. In most cases, breastfeeding moms are allowed to go for the exam.
What can CT scans detect?The diagnostic scan can be recommended for the following reasons:
- To detect bone disorders, tumours and fractures
- To check the location of a blood clot, infection or tumour
- To detect and monitor health conditions
- Check the effectiveness of medical treatment
- To evaluate internal injuries or bleeding
Consult a General Physician
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