What is a CT scan?

Computed Tomography, or commonly known as CT scan is an imaging technology. It helps presents the images from inside of the body for the doctors and the scientists. CT scan can be used to get the images of the tissue as well as the bone.

An extension of X-ray technology, CT scan is a sophisticated technique that is essential for trauma patients and various other ailments. It is used specially to get the images of the chest, pelvis and abdomen. CT scans are often done on cancer patients, to identify the regions and size, as it discloses information with high precision. People suffering from cardiovascular, skeletal and digestive diseases are also at times prescribed the test.

CT scan basically involves using radiation (X-rays) to produce an image. As the machine revolves around the body, it throws the radiation waves from multiple angles. These are then collected and cumulated in the computer to produce a 3-dimensional image.

This imaging test cannot be carried out without prescription from a doctor. Hence, anyone scheduling a CT scan in Karachi should also bring in their prescription for the lab. Other than this, various things to be careful about with regards to the scan are:

Preparation for the Scan

It is important to prepare carefully for the CT scan. Some labs have their patients change into gowns, but patients should generally wear loose clothing in case they do not need to change. Women should wear a regular bra, and not one with underwire.

Before the exam, if your lab uses contrast material for image clarity, then it is best to not eat or drink prior to the scan. People who have had surgery prior to the exam or have some kidney disease or are diabetic should talk to the radiologist as the material might not be suitable for them.

Moreover, patients should remove any metallic accessory on their bodies; hair pins, jewelry, watches, prosthetics, hear aids etc.  Garments with metallic zippers ought to be removed as well. Women who are pregnant should not get an exam unless it is absolutely necessary. Also, any woman likely to be pregnant should also let her doctor know.

Any necessary medical conditions should be disclosed to the radiologist or have a discussion with the doctor who prescribed the test to rule out any unnecessary danger to the body.

During the test

Patient has to lie down on a flatbed that gets rolled into and out of the donut shaped machine. The only thing to be careful about during this procedure is to be still, as otherwise image can get blurry. The entire process can take around 20 minutes, so it relatively quick.

Safety instructions

Since CT scans are non-invasive, they do not have special care. Since the person is rolled into the machine, anyone suffering from claustrophobia may feel panicked and unsafe. Such people can be prescribed sedatives under medical supervision.

Some people might have allergy to contrast material, and they might therefore experience some unwanted symptoms. If you know of your allergy prior to the test, let the doctor know. There is not much post-test care, other than watching out for reaction to the contrast material.

CT scan involves exposure to radiation. Even though it is kept to a minimum in the test, however, it can be dangerous for pregnant women and can also cause cancer in some rare cases. In light of the involvement of radiation, anyone requiring CT scan in Islamabad should only contact labs that adhere to the safety protocols and are certified by the regulatory authority.

 

 

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