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How To Prepare For A CT Scan Procedure

How To Prepare For A CT Scan Procedure

Medical technologies have become more sophisticated to help more people with their conditions. Doctors are able to receive more accurate results and provide more insightful advice to their patients with the right tests and procedures. One of these is the computed tomography, or “CT scan” for short. With a CT scan procedure, doctors can see a patient’s condition more clearly compared to normal 2D x-ray results.

What is a CT Scan?

CT scan, or a computed tomography scan, is a diagnostic procedure that uses x-ray technology to capture different parts of the body. It can be interchanged with a “CAT scan,” or computed axial tomography scan. It is more detailed compared to your normal lung X-ray, which only shows a specific view of your body parts.

What the CT scan procedure does is takes slices or cross-sectional images of your body to show a more detailed view of organs, muscles, and bones. These images are sent straight to a computer, which makes the interpretation of results faster. The machine scans the body, which allows different angles and depths of organs to be captured. This is not easily shown in standard x-rays. There are newer models which can even show 3-dimensional results for CT scans.

When Is It Recommended To Get One?

CT scan procedures are recommended by doctors after exhausting different lab tests and other diagnostic procedures as they can be pricey.

It is commonly used to show the patient’s condition for the following:

  • Diagnosis of injury, diseases, tumor, and other abnormalities
  • Helps in medical, surgical, and radiation procedures
  • Assessment of the organ’s structure, shape, and strength
  • Detect blood clots and internal bleeding
  • Monitor reception or effectiveness of treatment such as chemotherapy

How Do You Prepare For It?

Before preparing for the CT scan procedure, patients should know the possible risks involved. As the procedure exposes one to radiation, it can pose a risk of developing diseases such as cancer in the long run. But it is also worth mentioning that the exposure is very low – equivalent to 3 years of radiation from a normal environment. Pregnant women are advised to also take an alternative test instead of a CT scan to be on the safe side for their babies.

Before CT Scan

Patients are advised to wear loose clothing without zippers or metal clamps so that it will be easier for them to move around especially if the scan is just for a particular part of the body. Metal objects such as jewelry and belts are required to be removed to prevent them from interfering with the scan.

During CT Scan

Depending on the procedure, patients may be given contrast or a dye, which makes the scanned area clearer when examined. This can be administered via IV, orally, or via enema.

For the procedure, the patient lies on the bed of the CT scanner and is then moved into the gantry where the rotating x-ray detectors are found. Hearing a buzzing sound during the procedure is normal. It is advised to stay still during the procedure so that the images will not be blurry. It usually takes around 10 to 20 minutes to complete the scan.

After CT Scan

After the scan, the patients can continue on with their normal routine. There shouldn’t be any pain or side effects once the procedure has been completed. For patients who have been given contrast, they are asked to remain for an hour to ensure that there is no allergic reaction to the liquid.

Key Takeaways

CT scan procedures help doctors by providing more accurate and defined results. There may be risks and higher costs involved, but what is important is that it outweighs the benefits that it will bring the patients. There’s not much downtime for patients who have or will undergo the procedure. Just make sure to consult your doctor if there are concerns before, during, and after the CT scan.

Learn more about Other Medical Procedures here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Elaine Felicitas Updated Jul 30, 2021
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza