Computed tomography (CT) is the diagnostic imaging test carried out to obtain detailed images of the human body’s internal organs, soft tissue, bones, and blood vessels. The cross-sectional images produced during a CT scan are reformatted in various planes, and can even be created as three-dimensional images viewed on a computer monitor. These images can be printed on film or transferred to any other electronic media. CT (Computed tomography) is often the best approach for spotting different kinds of cancers as the images let the doctor confirm the existence of a tumor and know its size and exact location. CT is a fast, painless process that is noninvasive and helps yield accurate findings. In emergency cases, it can also be used to show internal injuries and bleeding in a timely way to help save lives. Moreover, the images obtained from a CT scan can serve as strong evidence for personal injury cases in court proceedings.
During a CT scan, the patient lies still on a table that passes slowly through the center of a big donut-shaped X-ray machine. The machine moves around the patient who is often asked to hold their breath for a few seconds to ensure clear images are obtained. Sometimes, a contrast imaging agent or dye is used to enhance image quality. The contrast agent (typically iodine and barium dyes) can be administered by mouth, injected into a vein, or via an enema, before the procedure. In some instances, the dye might lead to an allergic reaction, which is why it is important that the patient notify the technologist immediately if they experience any symptoms.
CT is a noninvasive process and does not have any adverse effects like pain. The length of a CT procedure is based on the size of the area being scanned, but it typically lasts only a few minutes to half an hour.