Good To Know
What is Computed Tomography?
Computed Tomography (CT) scans are a quick and painless way to examine any part of the body when there is a clinical reason to suspect internal injury, disease, tumor or infection. To do this, a series of x-rays are taken from different angles around the body, combined and then processed by a powerful computer to create cross-sectional images of your body. Another way to think of the images are like slices of a loaf of bread.
What Should I Expect?
Preparation for CT scans depends on which area of your body is being examined. Upon arrival, you may be asked to wear a gown. Sometimes you will be asked to drink water prior to your examination. Please call our office at (805)682-7744 with any questions.
We utilize Siemens 64-Slice Perspective CT Scanner. One of the key features of this machine is the advanced dose reduction. Doses are automated according to each patients’ anatomy resulting in a 60% dose reduction across the board. In addition, this machine offers high-quality vascular imaging and a faster scanning speed enabling visualization of even the smallest diagnostic detail. Lastly, the patient friendly design allows easier access and positioning for patients, giving them more time with the technologists.
Most frequent questions and answers
Contrast allergy: In certain CT examinations intended to best visualize and study the body’s vascular structures, an iodine-based contrast agent is injected intravenously during scanning. Commonly the injection site is the elbow area of the arm (like a blood draw for lab work). When you arrive, you will answer a questionnaire to see if you have any allergies that might make you more likely to have an allergic reaction to the iodinated contrast. If you know you are allergic to iodine or “x-ray dye”, please inform our staff at the time of scheduling so we can make the necessary pre-procedure arrangements. This material is not radioactive.
Radiation dose: Pueblo has a CT scanner that was developed to utilize the minimum dose necessary in providing high quality diagnostic images. We have installed a new CT scanner with techniques that allow us to use the lowest possible radiation dose with improved image quality. While radiation dose has been a concern in the past and we continue to need to use it appropriately, you can be assured that the radiation dose associated with your scan will be kept as low as possible.
While you can request medication from your physician to relieve the claustrophobia, it has been our experience that very few people are claustrophobic in our CT scanner. The scanner opening is 70cm (27.6”) across and the depth of the scanner in the opening is only 27”. If you would like to visit our office to see what our scanner looks like prior to your appointment, we are happy to arrange that in hopes that your visit will then go more smoothly and with lower anxiety.
Yes, CT scans do produce more radiation than a regular X-ray. The result of a regular X-ray is a 2D image while a CT scan will provide your doctor with a 3D image. You will get more information out of a CT scan than an x-ray, in general. As of this year, we have upgraded our technology to include the new Siemens Perspective Low-Dose 64-Slice CT scanner. In addition to provided us with the highest quality images, this scanner has automated low-dose technology which decreases the amount of radiation by over one-third of what was previously used. You can read more about this scanner in the “Our Technology” section found above.
Depending on what you are coming in for, you may be required to drink oral contrast. The organs in your abdomen an pelvis are all squished together. The oral contrast will highlight your bowels and allow the radiologist to identify bowel from the many other structures. However in some instances the oral contrast may cause diarrhea.
IV contrast is a clear solution consisting mainly of saline mixed with some iodine. Iodine will show up white on the images. It is administered through a vein in your arm.
IV contrast will allow the radiologists to identify your blood vessels and organs apart from other structures. You may experience a warm flush and/or metallic taste in your mouth as it is going in. If you are allergic to iodine please call our office and ask to speak to a CT technologist.