What is Computed Tomography (CT)? – Cyprus Central Hospital

What is Computed Tomography (CT)?

Tomography; the Greek word Tomos, which means cut, slice, part, and the words Graphein, which means to write, save.

Computed tomography (CT) is an imaging method where special X-rays are used to create detailed pictures or scans of areas within the body. It combines X-ray images taken from different angles to create cross-sectional images of bone, veins and soft tissues.

How does computer CT work?

A CT scan consists of a circular device and a table where the patient lies. A motorized X-ray source revolving around the circular opening of the tomography device provides imaging. X-rays from different angles of the body show a thin section of the organ, bone, or other tissues during the Computed Tomography process. The taken sections are combined by the computer to create a 3-D image. The radiology doctor can examine the 3-dimensional image and evaluate each section obtained by himself.

Why do computer CT scans?

Diagnosis of bone fractures, disorders or bone tumors

Internal injuries and internal bleeding

Determining the location of a tumor, infection, or blood clot in the body

In the planning of surgery, biopsy or radiation treatments

Providing visual aid in certain interventional procedures such as biopsy or needle aspiration

In determining diseases such as cancer, heart disease, lung nodules and liver masses

Measurement of bone resistance

Monitoring the effectiveness of certain treatments, such as cancer treatment

Determining the stage of cancer

Colorectal cancer screening

Kidney and bladder stones

Inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and sinusitis

How is CT done with a computer?

Eating and drinking should be stopped for a few hours before the Computed Tomography procedure is done.

Some or all of the clothes are removed and hospital gowns are worn. Metal objects such as belts, jewelry, piercings, hairpins, dentures and glasses are removed, which can interfere with image quality.

During the Computed Tomography procedure, the patient lies on the table. In some types of Computed Tomography, the table in which the patient lies is stationary while in some types of Computed Tomography, the table in which the patient lies can be stationary. The table on which the patient lies passes through a circular motor X-ray source. The patient may lie on his back or face down on the table according to the examination to be performed.

It is important to be in a comfortable position as the patient will not move during the computer tomography process. Moving the patient during imaging may cause problems with the clarity of the images to be obtained. Therefore, the patient may be asked to hold his breath during the procedure to make the images clearer.

Foam pillows and straps can be used to make the patient comfortable.

During computed tomography imaging, sounds can come from the machine. The table on which the patient is present may make small movements during imaging.

During the Computed Tomography procedure, the patient remains alone in the room. However, there is a system in which the radiologist can see, listen and talk to the patient.

What should be considered before computer tomography?

Patients who are pregnant or suspected of being pregnant should share this information with their doctor. The radiology doctor may recommend another imaging method instead of Computed Tomography.

Allergies, diabetes, thyroid or kidney failure, such as the information should be given.

If you have a fear of staying indoors, it should be shared with your doctor.

Information about devices installed in the body, such as pacemakers or medicine pumps, should be provided.

It may be necessary to starve before computed tomography. The doctor should be consulted on this topic.

The circular region of the computed tomography machine may be narrow for obese patients. This should be evaluated in advance, if necessary, a different alternative should be chosen.

How is a CT scan done?

For more detailed and clear imaging of soft tissues, sometimes medicated computed tomography can be taken.

According to the type of examination that will be done in medicated tomography shots, the patient is injected by mouth or intravenous contrast material is given. The drugs used in Computed Tomography usually contain iodine or barium.

Drugs can create a strangely warm feel or a metallic taste in the mouth.

If the esophagus or stomach is being scanned, you may need to swallow a liquid containing a contrast agent.

Contrast agents may be injected through the vein in the arm in imaging of the gallbladder, urinary tract, liver or blood vessels.

Contrast material may be inserted into the rectum during a bowel scan.

The patient is kept under observation for a period of time after the medicated CT scan. The drug given to the patient through the vein or mouth is expected to be excreted through the urine. In the meantime, the patient is observed by the radiology doctor.

Medicated what are the side effects of CT?

The allergic effects of drugs used by mouth or vein in Computed Tomography are generally not life-threatening. Side effects can be seen in those who are allergic to seafood and iodine contrast.  Although rare, the contrast agent given to the patient may lead to allergic reactions, a previous allergy-related examination should be carried out.

Usually;

Rash

Itch

Nausea

Side effects such as redness occur.

In rarity;

Shortness of breath

Swelling in the throat or in different parts of the body

Severe allergic problems such as kidney problems can be experienced.

What are the risks or harms of Computed Tomography?

One of the most curious subjects of the use of computer tomography is whether the amount of radiation taken leads to a problem.

Computed tomography is life-saving in diagnosis of life-threatening conditions such as bleeding, blood clots or cancer. However, computed tomography uses x-rays during imaging and all its rays produce ionizing radiation.

Because computed tomography produces more detailed imaging, the amount of radiation is greater than the amount of radiation of the forehead during X-ray.

The long-term damages of low radiation doses used in computed tomography scans are very low. In addition, advanced technology combined with much faster and lower doses of radiation can scan almost the entire body in seconds. It is generally thought that the risk of any person developing a deadly cancer from a typical Computed Tomography procedure is 1 in 2000.

Does CT damage pregnant women?

Before a CT scan, the patient must tell the radiology doctor if she is pregnant or has doubts about the pregnancy. If the body region displayed during computed tomography is not the abdominal or pelvic region, the radiation applied does not pose a risk to the unborn baby. In cases where the Pelvis or abdominal area needs to be viewed, your doctor may consider options such as MRI or ultrasound.

How do children and babies get a CT scan?

A sedative may be used in small children or infants during Computed Tomography. For the clarity of the image to be obtained in Computed Tomography shots, it is necessary to stand still. It is difficult for children and infants to provide this tranquilizer medication may need to be used.

Does CT damage children?

The rapid division of cells during growth can make children susceptible to radiation. Children should be less exposed to radiation, given that their likely lifetime will be longer than adults.

Children who had multiple computed tomography scans before the age of 15 were found to have an increased risk of leukemia and brain tumors within 10 years.

However, low dose use and advanced technology in children with rapid shots may minimize the risk.

Is computed tomography a painful procedure?

Computed tomography is a completely painless imaging procedure. Standing still during a CT scan or holding the breath for a while can create a feeling of discomfort. Side effects of the contrast agent used in medicated tomography shots can be seen.

What is the difference between computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MRI)?

While tomography uses X-rays or radiation in imaging techniques, Magnetic Resonance (MRI) uses magnetic field radio waves in imaging.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more common in the diagnosis of diseases such as cerebrospinal diseases, athlete injuries, musculoskeletal system, neurological diseases Nov. Tomography is used to take a cross-sectional 3-D image.

CT results are much faster than Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

How long does a CT take?

The duration of the Computed Tomography depends on the size of the area to be scanned. Thanks to advanced technology, many images can be completed in seconds. In general, there are viewing times ranging from a few minutes to 30 minutes.

What should be done to reduce the damage of Computed Tomography?

In the long run, both adults and children may have unwanted health problems such as cancer because computed tomography provides imaging with radiation. There are a number of precautions that can be taken to get rid of the damage of computer tomography.

See if there are other alternative methods of computed tomography imaging for your treatment and diagnosis.

Do not be persistent when you are told that there is no need for computed tomography imaging.

If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, pass this information on to your doctor.

Ask if a protective shield should be used. If you or your children are taking X-rays, ask if a lead apron or other shield should be used.

Keep a list of imaging methods that X-rays have been used before, such as a list of drugs used.

Check for low doses of radiation, especially in children.

The area of the body scanned with computed tomography should be limited to the smallest required area.

Many diagnoses do not require very high imaging quality. High imaging quality means high levels of radiation. In most cases, low-dose images may be sufficient for diagnosis.

Computed tomography results

Computed tomography images are stored as electronic data files and are often reviewed on a computer screen. The radiologist interprets these images and sends a report. Computed Tomography results are considered normal if the radiologist did not see any tumors, blood clots, fractures or other abnormalities in the images. If an abnormality is detected during a computed tomography scan, further tests or treatments may be needed depending on the type of abnormality found.

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