A CT scan has significantly improved medical diagnoses over the years. Developed by Dr Alan Cormack and British engineer Sir Godfrey Hounsfield, medical facilities first used CT scans in the early 1970s. A scan can be done quickly and painlessly, benefiting patients immensely. Here is everything there is to know about CT scans.
What it is
A CT scan is also known as a CAT scan or Computer Axial Tomography scan. It is a specialised X-ray test that uses X-rays and a computer to produce cross-sectional images of the body to diagnose illnesses accurately and for medical practitioners to formulate a treatment plan for a patient. Compared to conventional X-ray examinations, CT scans produce more vivid images of organs, nerves and other components inside the body. Technological advancements over the decades have significantly improved the quality of images provided by these scans. CT scans in London cost from £400 to £900.
- CT scans take pictures of specific areas of the body that need medical attention. It allows doctors to thoroughly analyse the scanned area of the body so they can formulate the best treatment plan.
- This procedure is more common than you think. It can be performed either in hospitals or outpatient clinics.
- With the help of CT scans, doctors can see and diagnose diseases without the need for surgery or autopsy.
- CT scans produce 3D images of the inside of the body, compared to conventional X-ray scans that only produce one-dimensional images of the body’s internal structures.
- Radiation is present in a CT scan but on a relatively safe level.
- A patient may take a dye contrast to aid doctors to determine normal tissues from abnormal ones. But this dye may be risky to some patients. It can cause an allergic reaction.
What body parts do CT scans scan?
A CT scan machine can scan any body part that needs medical attention and diagnosis. But the most common areas studied are the chest, spine, brain or head, sinuses, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. The scan examines them for tumours, abnormal tissues and other anomalies that need immediate treatment.
If a patient needs a dye contrast for the scan, he has to refrain from eating or drinking anything several hours before the scheduled scan as the dye may cause stomach upset. They inject the contrast into the veins. For scans involving the pelvis and abdomen, the patient has to take an oral contrast. This contrast contains diluted barium, which helps the medical practitioner to accurately identify the gastrointestinal tract and tell it apart from other abdominal structures that are not concerned with the procedure. The patient has to take the oral contrast over the course of two hours before the scan.
Medical advancements such as CT scans have immensely helped patients and medical professionals as well in diagnosing and treating illnesses correctly. Being painless and swiftly done, a CT scan hastens the treatment of a disease to give a patient a better chance at managing the underlying medical anomaly.