What is a CAT scan? What is a CAT scan? The name stands for computerized axial tomography. A more advanced procedure of an x-ray. Involves a computer to give doctors cross sectional views and also 3-D images of different structures of the body and also internal organs.
What does the equipment look like? The CT scanner is typically a large, box like machine with a hole, or short tunnel, in the center. You will lie on a narrow examination table that slides into and out of this tunnel. Rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate room,
How does the procedure work? Numerous x-ray beams and electronic x-ray detectors rotate around you, measuring the amount of radiation being absorbed throughout your body. At the same time, the examination table is moving through the scanner, so that the x- ray beam follows a spiral path.
Cont……….. A special computer program processes this large volume of data to create two- dimensional cross-sectional images of your body, which are then displayed on a monitor. This technique is called helical or spiral CT.
Cont…………… Modern CT scanners are so fast that they can scan through large sections of the body in just a few seconds. Such speed is beneficial for all patients. For children, the CT scanner technique will be adjusted to reduce the radiation dose. CT scanning of the body is usually completed within 30 minutes.
What is the use for a CAT Scan? To find to find abnormal structures in the body and helps to accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments. To analyze internal structures of the body. Can identify head injuries, blood clots, tumors, and problems in the neck, chest, abdomen and brain. Can measure bone density to evaluate osteoporosis accurately.
Cont……………….. It is also sometimes used to look at the skull. skull A neck CT checks the soft tissues of the neck and to look for enlarged lymph nodes or glands.lymph CT of the chest is frequently used to further study an abnormality on a plain chest x-ray.
Benefits Painless Can greatly help doctors locate abnormalities within the body. Can guide radiologists in performing biopsies if cancer is suspected, removing body fluids for different types of tests. Doing so can greatly reduce the need for surgery and yet will accomplish the same goal.
Some of the Risks Very low risk, however some minor side effects, (itching, rashes, etc.). However medications are commonly used to treat these. Patients with kidney failure, diabetics or ones who are constantly dehydrated were denied CAT Scans. BUT, today’s improvements have eliminated the problems those faced.
Cont…………….. There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk. CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.
Because children are more sensitive to radiation, they should have a CT study only if it is essential for making a diagnosis and should not have repeated CT studies unless absolutely necessary.