Computed tomography (CT) scans utilize advanced imaging technology to provide detailed cross-sectional images of various parts of the body. These scans play a crucial role in diagnosing and monitoring a wide range of medical conditions.
CT scan images offer detailed information that surpasses the capabilities of X-rays, enabling our medical professionals to make precise diagnoses and develop effective treatment plans. At Grand Forks Clinic, we offer state-of-the-art CT scanning services as part of our comprehensive Imaging & Lab Services.
How CT Scans Work
During a CT scan, a rotating X-ray machine captures multiple images of the targeted body area. These images are then processed by a computer to create detailed cross-sectional slices from different angles, allowing our radiologists to obtain a comprehensive view of the internal structures.
CT scans can produce high-resolution images of bones, organs, blood vessels, and soft tissues with exceptional clarity.
When CT Scans Are Used
CT scans have a wide range of applications and are particularly beneficial in quickly examining patients.
They are used to visualize nearly all body parts and aid in diagnosing diseases and injuries and planning medical, surgical, or radiation treatments.
Some common situations where CT scans are useful include:
Diagnosing muscle and bone disorders, such as bone tumors and fractures
Locating tumors, infections, or blood clots
Guiding procedures like surgery, biopsy, and radiation therapy
Detecting and monitoring diseases and conditions like cancer, heart disease, lung nodules, and liver masses
Monitoring the effectiveness of specific treatments, such as cancer treatment
Detecting internal injuries and internal bleeding
Risks and Precautions with CT Scans
During a CT scan, you will be exposed to ionizing radiation for a brief period. While the low doses used in CT scans have not been shown to cause long-term harm, our medical professionals use the lowest possible radiation dose to obtain the necessary medical information. No negative effects have been observed at the low doses used during CT imaging.
Note that CT scans are not recommended if you are pregnant. In this case, alternative imaging exams like an ultrasound or MRI may be recommended to avoid exposing your baby to radiation.
Sometimes, a special dye called contrast material may be needed to enhance the clarity of certain areas during the CT scan. Although rare, the contrast material may cause allergic reactions.
Most reactions are mild, resulting in a rash or itchiness. However, severe reactions can occur, albeit rarely. Make sure to inform your doctor if you have had a reaction to contrast material in the past.
What to Expect During A CT Scan
Before the Scan
When you arrive at Grand Forks Clinic for your CT scan, you will first be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will also need to remove any metal objects, such as jewelry, dentures, or eyeglasses, since these could interfere with the scan results.
Depending on the area being scanned, you may be required to refrain from eating or drinking for a few hours before the procedure.
Before the procedure, contrast material may be administered in some cases. This will be administered either orally or through injection into a vein, depending on the type of CT scan and the body part being examined.
During the Scan
During the scan, you will lie on a narrow, motorized table that will slide through the opening of the CT scanner. Straps may be used to help you stay in the proper position.
The scanner, which resembles a large doughnut, will rotate around you, capturing multiple images of thin sections of your body. Our technician will monitor the process from a separate room and instruct you through an intercom system. You may be asked to hold your breath at specific points to prevent any blurring of images.
After the Scan
After your scan is complete, you can go about your daily routines. If contrast material was used during your scan, we will provide instructions for post-exam care. Usually, drinking plenty of fluids helps flush out the contrast material from your body.
Interpreting CT Scan Results
CT scan images are stored as electronic data files and are reviewed by a radiologist who interprets the images and prepares a detailed report for your doctor.
Your doctor will then discuss the results with you, providing guidance on further evaluation or treatment based on the findings.
Get Specialized CT Scans at Grand Forks Clinic
At Grand Forks Clinic, we offer advanced imaging & laboratory services, like CT scans, tailored to meet your unique healthcare needs. Whether you require a routine scan or a more specialized examination, our cutting-edge imaging technology and expertise ensure accurate and timely results.
We strive to deliver precise and personalized evaluations, ensuring the highest quality of care for your health. To schedule a CT scan or other imaging services, call us at (701) 775-5800 or request an appointment online.
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