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When you become unwell, whether that’s due to sickness or injury, you will typically go to the doctor; if you go as a result of sickness, you will be expecting the doctor to figure out what is wrong and explain the next steps. When you’re injured, you will most likely first receive care from the hospital, where they will need to run tests to determine the extent of your injury. In many cases, the medical practitioner will be able to diagnose the issue from your symptoms; however, there may be instances where they will need to run tests or perform diagnostic imaging in order to gain a better understanding of what is causing your symptoms. A diagnostic imaging is an invaluable tool for doctors as it provides them with the ability to examine areas of your body internally without the need for invasive surgery.
Why You Might Need A CT Scan
CT scans use x-ray, which grants doctors access to see inside of patients’ bodies via imaging. The procedure is relatively straightforward, and while the patient lays down, images are taken with the X-rays from different angles for the CT scanning machine’s computer to process. The results create cross-sectional images, which provide valuable insight into a patient’s bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues while significantly aiding doctors in the diagnostic process. While, like many people, you may have heard of a CT scan or have seen one getting used on a popular TV show, most people have never needed one. If your doctor has recommended you undergo a CT scan, or you’re just curious, this guide will help you understand all the health reasons why you might need to undergo a CT.
How CT Scans Work
CT scans typically only take a few minutes and are perfect for people who suffer from claustrophobia as it is a less stressful procedure. The machines are usually shaped like donuts which contain an x-ray tube and detectors on opposite sides. When you enter the scanner, the x-ray equipment will rotate around you, which is what produces high-quality images. Preparation for a CT scan depends on what your doctor requires, which means in some cases, you will be asked to refrain from eating anything for a few hours before the procedure.
You Can’t Have An MRI
Not all of the imaging procedures work in the same way, and, in some cases, external factors restrict which exams you can undergo. When your doctor needs to take internal imaging to diagnose a potential health problem, you may expect them to send you for an MRI, and while this imaging procedure is similar to a CT scan, some aspects set them apart.
If you have injuries that prevent you from lying still for an hour, it may be better for you to undergo a CT scan as they are performed in less time and have a lower sensitivity to movement than MRIs. You will also be restricted from having MRIs if you have any kind of medical device implanted in your body which could make getting an MRI dangerous or interfere with the imaging.
Blood Vessels Examination
CT scans are useful for more than investigating injuries and are ideal for blood vessel examinations, as these scans provide doctors with all the information needed without the need for invasive surgery or biopsies. The ability to perform blood vessel examinations without surgery is vital for those who need a quick and non-invasive diagnosis or treatments for conditions like vascular diseases.
You Need To Check Bones
When you need clear images of the smallest bones in your body, a CT scan is ideal as it produces extremely clear images for the doctors to review. This has proven to be remarkably helpful for doctors, especially when they need to examine patients for small bone injuries in areas of the body like the hands and feet as well as larger regions such as the spine. Smaller bones may not be as clear when using other imaging methods, which is why many medical professionals prefer CT scans when they need to examine small bones.
Diagnosing Abdominal Issues
When you’re experiencing abdominal issues, doctors may order a CT scan to produce highly detailed images of organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, gallbladder, ovaries, and uterus. These highly detailed images will allow doctors to diagnose a variety of issues and are typically performed for many reasons such as a mass in your abdomen, abdominal pain, sudden and unexplained weight loss, possible obstructions in the intestine, kidney stones, and possible inflammation in the bowels.
Spinal Issues And Chronic Pain
Chronic back pain or injuries to the spine are challenging when it comes to diagnosing the severity of the problem, and medical professionals typically insist on these procedures for a number of reasons; to evaluate spinal fractures, assess the condition of the spine both before and after surgery, diagnose the source of spinal pain from conditions like herniated disks, evaluate congenital anomalies or diagnose scoliosis, and measure bone density for those at risk of osteoporosis. CT scans are also often used in conjunction with MRIs as the joint imagery is ideal for patients with arthritis, infections, or narrowing of the spinal cord.
Undergoing Cancer Treatment
CT scans are invaluable for helping doctors plan radiation treatments for cancerous tumors as they provide accurate details, which is vital when imaging soft tissue. Aside from planning and administering treatment, these scans also help doctors monitor responses to chemotherapy; this is because they can reveal if the cancer has spread, and if it has spread, the CT will show how severe the problem is in order to determine the next steps.
If you’re worried about any symptoms you may have or just want to check, you have nothing to be concerned about, you may schedule a CT scan for yourself, but this raises other questions, especially if you don’t have insurance, like how much is a CT scan? When you’re hoping to get a CT, understanding the costs involved is the best way to reduce your stress towards the procedure, and if your head over to Ezra, you can get expert advice with this cost breakdown.
Examining Bones For Skeletal Diseases
As well as providing doctors accurate images of the body for vascular diseases, cancer, or injuries, a CT scan can also assist physicians in diagnosing and treating osteoporosis, among other skeletal disorders. A medical professional can use a CT scan to can measure bone mineral density, which is why they are incredibly useful in the diagnosis of osteoporosis.
You Need A Brain Examination
The most common reason you may have heard CT scans being used for is brain examinations, and there are many reasons why medical professionals may want to explore the internal condition of your head. The top reason is that CT scans provide detailed visuals of the brain, which means they are able to assist doctors in diagnosing and treating issues in the brain, such as a tissue-related disease like meningitis and encephalitis, or a blunt trauma injury.
Severe Accident Injuries
Since CT scans are highly effective, they are vital tools for helping physicians identify internal injuries. In emergencies, CT scans are typically a doctor’s first choice when speed is of the essence and accurate images are needed. When you get hurt in a severe accident, such as a car crash, it is likely that your doctors will use a CT scan not only to find internal injuries quickly but will use the imagery to assist with the treatment process.