Computerized Tomography imaging, also known as a CT or CAT scan, is an invaluable tool physicians use to visualize the inside of every part of our bodies.
Since its discovery in the early seventies, this imaging test has become useful for both the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of health conditions. There can be endless reasons as to why you may need a CT scan, but here are 8 of those most commonly used.
What Does a CT Scan Do?
A CT scan is a quick and painless test that can give our radiologists a distinct and accurate images that are much clearer than a typical X-ray. A CT scan produces a combination of X-rays from different angles, and then using a computer, collects the data to produce a 3D cross sectional image.
The results of this scan provide doctors with clear images of the patient’s bones, soft tissues, organs, muscles, large blood vessels, nerves, and brain.
By getting a clearer picture than an X-ray, a CT scan has many additional benefits:
- In an ER setting, physicians can get an immediate assessment of a patient’s condition
- It can reduce the need for exploratory surgery
- Improves cancer treatments and diagnosis
- Reduces the length of hospital stays
- Helps to guide the treatment of many common medical conditions
Reasons You May Need a CT Scan
Car Accident or Trauma
If you were involved in a car accident and brought to the ER, a CT scan would quickly tell doctors if you need surgery to stop any internal bleeding.
To Guide Procedures
If you needed a procedure like a biopsy, radiation therapy, or certain surgeries, a CT scan would help guide the doctor’s process.
Detect the Location of a Problem
A CT scan can help to locate a tumor, a blood clot, an infection, or any excess fluid in the body.
Check Areas of the Body with Small Bones
Injuries of the hands and fingers are more visible with a CT scan rather than an X-ray.
An Injury or Issue with the Brain or Head
A CT scan can see any blood clots, tumors, infections, skull fractures, or other abnormalities in the head.
Spinal Issues and Chronic Pain
The radiologist can clearly identify the individual discs in the vertebrae and spinal cord, as well as the structure of these vertebrae. CT scans are also often used in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.
A CT scan can clearly define organs like the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, the uterus and ovaries, and identify tumors, blockages, aortic dysfunctions, infections, or other abnormalities of the abdominal area.
CT scans are frequently used to assist in the planning and strategy of cancer treatments by evaluating tumor size and location and whether treatments are working or if the cancer is spreading.
There are many other reasons why the radiologist might want you to have a CT scan. If you are a person who becomes nervous during an MRI due to the enclosure and length of the test, a CT scan may be a better alternative for you.
Contact Alabama Coastal Radiology at (251) 460-0326 if you need to discuss an upcoming CT scan, or if it could shed light on an existing medical issue.