What you need to know about:

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

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Overview of

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

in Thailand

A computed tomography (CT) scan is one of diagnostic radiology procedure that involves a series of x-ray images taken from different angles to make detailed pictures of internal structures of your body. These three-dimensional images are then processed by a computer to create cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues, allowing for clear visualization of organs.

Goals of

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

The goals of CT scans are: To examine various organs in the body to detect any abnormalities as well as any masses or cysts, fracture of bones, infection, swelling or obstruction of blood vessels, etc. To monitor the results of treatment, such as in cancer patients after surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. To determine the location for biopsy to test for cancer or location for drainage of fluid or pus from the body.

Price of

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

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Pros and cons of

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Pros

- A CT scan provides detailed and accurate results with 3D images that give more information for diagnosis than regular x-ray.  

-CT scan helps detect more abnormalities and can diagnose complex diseases.  

-The procedure does not take very long and is convenient.

-Effective at diagnosing certain medical conditions

-CT scans have the ability of pinpoint accuracy. A very small area or a very large area can be focused on. Unlike other diagnostic tools that do not offer this pinpoint accuracy the CT scan can pinpoint even the smallest area to get a good picture of what is going on.

-There is no pain involved with this type of scan. Even if you are required to have contrast depending on what the scan is looking at you may be able to drink the contrast instead of having it injected intravenously.

-CT scans take about 10-30 minutes in full but a large part of that time is spent actually getting ready for the scan and getting back up from the scan. The actual scans takes seconds not minutes. It is a very fast procedure.  

Cons

-CT scans are not as effective as MRI scans when it comes to investigating your body's soft tissue

-There is a lot of radiation that comes with the procedure which may have a slight possibility of causing damage further down the road. Typically if you have one or two scans in a close period of time you will not experience any issues but if you have more than 2 in a year or a short period of time you may be exposed to more radiation then your body can process and you may be at a higher risk of cancer because of the radiation exposure.

-CT scans are not suitable for pregnant women, due to the amount of radiation that the fetus will be exposed to which can potential harm them.

-Contrast Issues. There is a large part of the population that use contrast during their scan that never have a reaction but the group that does experience a reaction is large enough that it is a very possible side effect. While a contrast reaction really cannot be considered a bad side effect of a CT scan the reality is if you never had the CT scan you never would be exposed to the contrast.

How it works:

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

You will be lying down while the images are taken. The table you are lying on will slide inside the scanner, which looks like a giant ring (or a donut), so that the x-ray emitter and detectors may spin around you in order to gather the necessary information and images. During the time in the scanner, you will hear the humming of the equipment as it produces images, this is normal.Depending on the type of exam you will receive, the length of the actual procedure will typically be between 10 to 45 minutes. The CT exam time may vary depending on the nature of your study.

Preparation before

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Pre - treatment

You do not normally need to prepare anything in particular for your CT scan appointment. Certain exams however, do require contrast, to be delivered into your body before the test starts. Contrast helps highlight certain areas on x-rays. Let your doctor know if you have ever had a reaction to contrast. You may need to take medicines before the test in order to avoid another reaction. If contrast is used, you may also be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test. Before receiving the contrast, tell your health care provider if you take diabetic medication. You may need to discontinue medicine temporarily. If you are 70 years of age or older and scheduled to receive contrast, you will be required to have a blood test to check your kidney function prior to the procedure.

Recovery after

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Post - treatment

The Radiologist will study your images and dictate the findings. Once the images have been read, your physician will receive the report to review with you.

Risks & side effects

Risks of Radiation

CT scan uses radiation and may slightly increase the risk of cancer in the long-term. With the current technology, the radiologist and radiologic technologist can adjust the level of radiation to be most appropriate for the patient and only just enough for diagnosis. For children, parents should discuss the risks of the procedure with the doctor to determine the most appropriate course of action as children are more sensitive to radiation than adults.   This procedure is not appropriate for pregnant patients and those who are trying to conceive as radiation is risky for the fetus. Only if the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks will the doctor recommend the CT scan.  

Risks of CT Scan

With Contrast media A small number of patients may experience immediate side effects or allergic reactions to the contrast media. These may include nausea, vomiting, and feeling hot throughout the body. These symptoms often go away when the contrast media is stopped. Allergic reactions may be mild or severe, but are usually not serious and include rash, itching, hives, sneezing, and/or coughing. Serious reactions, which are rare, include difficulty breathing, low or high blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. However, the patient will be monitored the entire time by a radiologist and nurse, and any allergic reaction can be countered immediately. There is life-saving equipment in every procedure room and a team of expert emergency doctors are available 24 hours a day. Delayed reactions, which are also rare, occur when the patient is home. If you experience any symptoms after a CT scan with contrast media, please return to the hospital immediately. For patients at high risk of reaction from contrast media, the referring doctor or an allergist will consider administering antihistamines before the patient receives the contrast media to prevent reaction or may choose an alternative procedure.

Contrast media extravasation is the leakage of contrast media outside the vein, causing the contrast media to be absorbed into the tissue under the skin. This can cause swelling in the area as well as pain, burning, and/or blistering. Your doctor will treat this immediately.

Contrast induced nephropathy (CIN) may occur after intravenous administration of contrast media, especially in patients with diabetes or kidney disease or patients whose kidney function is compromised. These patients are at risk of renal failure after receiving contrast media. Patients at risk of contrast induced nephropathy may be recommended to undergo a different procedure or may require special preparation before the scan and the amount of contrast media used will be limited and carefully monitored by the referring doctor or an endocrinologist/nephrologist.

Risks of Sedation

If the patient cannot undergo the scan normally, such as children, those with claustrophobia, or those with pain that does not allow them to stay still, the doctor may recommend minimal to deep sedation or general anesthesia, to facilitate the scan. The doctor will work with an anesthesiologist to assess the patient and provide recommendations before the procedure.

FAQs:

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Are there any travel recommends after having CT scans?

There are usually no travel restrictions before and after the procedure, even with contrast media, except in patients who react to the contrast media. The doctor may prescribe antihistamines that can make the patient drowsy and in that case, the patient should not drive. The patient will be monitored until they are well enough to return home or when a friend or family member can take them home.

What is the success rate of CT scans?

The success rate of CT scan is very high, but it depends on many factors, such as the type of procedure, the disease, and patient-specific factors. If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor.   What if the procedure is not performed? The disease may not be diagnosed and treatment may be delayed or inaccurate, or disease may not be detected in its earliest stages when it can be treated more easily and is more likely to be cured.

Can I move while I am in the CT Scanner?

You should not move when you are on the CT table and the images are being acquired. This eliminates blurring in the image caused by breathing or other patient motion.

What is contrast media and why do certain patients need them?

Contrast substance is given to highlight various body parts of your body. It is usually given by mouth and/or Intravenous (IV) injection. It is normal to feel a warm sensation as the dye makes its way through your system.  The IV contrast (iodine or contrast “dye”) enhances all of the vascular structures on the images, this helps your doctor visualize the organs, blood vessels and bones inside your body. The multiple images provided give your doctor many different views of your body. It will also help them see any potential pathology or abnormality.

Can I Have an CT scan if I am pregnant?

Pregnant woman should not have a CT exam or any x-ray examination, especially if the woman is in her first trimester (first of three-3 month periods of pregnancy). Depending on the condition, there may be other exams available, such as ultrasound, to help diagnose a medical condition. Pregnant women should always inform their imaging technologist or radiologist that they are pregnant, or may be pregnant.

What will the CT Scan tell me?

CT scans allow radiologists to look inside your body to ensure all internal bones and soft tissues, including organs and muscles are working properly, so that if disease or abnormalities exist your doctor will be able to make appropriate and timely treatment recommendations. CT scans are also often used during cancer treatments to monitor the effectiveness of different treatments in a patient’s care.

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