CT (Computed Tomography) scanning is a diagnostic X-ray procedure using computers. X-rays are taken from a series of different angles and assembled by the computer to show a cross-sectional view of internal organs.
This is an informative technique in which the structures inside the body can be seen without cutting it open. It can be combined with other procedures like sampling of tissue guided by a CT to give additional information.
When is it used?
CT scanning is used when the doctor needs more detailed information than regular X-rays, particularly in head injuries, brain diseases, tumours and spinal disorders. It is useful in the diagnosis of any changes caused by disease in the body. The anatomy of the patient can also be studied for planning an operation.
What happens during the procedure?
CT scanning is done in a hospital or a CT scan centre. The patient is put in a reclining position on a table. This can change position inside the scanner and the scanner itself can move to change the angles of the x-rays. Contrast media may be injected into the blood vessels or given orally to enhance the picture quality.
What are the risks associated with the procedure?
It is a very safe non-invasive procedure. The exposure to radiation is considered hazardous if used frequently or in large amounts. However, the amount of radiation in a CT scan is small.
There is a small risk of having an allergic reaction to the contrast media. Inform the doctor about allergies to any medication.