Computed Tomography CT FAQs
What is a CT Scan?
Helical Computed Tomography (CT) uses special x-ray equipment together with a computer to obtain images of the body. CT scan is able to put together the different "slices" (images) to generate a three dimensional view of the area of interest.
What is multi-detector Helical CT (MDCT)?
Multi-detector Helical CT (MDCT) is a new important development in diagnostic imaging, using not one detector but multiple detectors to obtain multiple simultaneous images of any part of the body in a single breathhold, virtually eliminating motion artifacts, and providing excellent diagnostic information.
MDCT provides extended coverage of anatomical areas while producing images with high details.
The scanning speed of multi-detector helical computed tomography allows the acquisition of images at a narrow section thickness and thus improves spatial resolution. Lesion contrast is potentially increased not only because of less volume averaging and motion but also a shorter scanning time. This may lead to improvement in detection of lesions and staging of cancer.
Angiographic evaluation of the head, neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis and extremities using MDCT angiography is greatly facilitated and results in markedly improved delineation of vessels.
What is the MDCT procedure like?
The examination is performed in a room that houses the CT scanner. Prior to the start of the exam, the technologist will explain the procedure to you. You will then be asked to lie down on a comfortable padded table that gently glides you into the CT scanner. It is important that you be secured because even the slightest movement can blur the picture and results in the need for repeat scans.
You will be easily seen by the technologist at all times. For your convenience, an intercom system is built into the scanner so that if you should need anything at all, a technologist will be right there.
What is a contrast media?
Your doctor may have requested that you receive an injection of contrast agent to give a clearer picture of the area being examined. Sometimes, you may feel a warm sensation as the dye makes its way through your body. In some instances, oral contrast may also be given.
How long will the exam take?
With the advent of multi-detector helical CT scan, the study usually takes 10-15 minutes. Time may vary if multiple studies are done at the same time.
When will you know the results?
Once your CT exam is completed, the pictures will be looked at by the radiologist, a specially trained physician who is able to interpret the scans for your doctor. The radiologist will send your doctor a written report. You should contact your physician within two days of your exam to make an appointment to go over your results and discuss your next step.