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CAT scan, otherwise known as the Computerized Axial Tomography scan, is among the most common diagnostic procedures in the medical field. It is beneficial in helping health care providers diagnose and detect abnormalities in the human body. This post talks about the basic questions that most people ask about it.
Does it cause pain?
No. The procedure is painless and non-invasive.
When is it often prescribed?
This diagnostic method is prescribed for the following reasons:
- To gain cross-sectional views of the human anatomy.
- To identify abnormalities in the internal structures.
- To aid and assist other procedures like surgery, biopsies, and drains.
- To provide baseline data needed for medical diagnosis.
- To guide health care providers in the placement of instruments and other things for treatment.
How does it provide doctors with images?
It combines various X-ray images with the aid of the computer to give various cross-sectional views that could not be seen through plain X-ray alone. It may also give three-dimensional images of internal organs and structures.
What does the machine look like?
The machine looks like a large donut-shaped scanner. When a person is inside, the body is scanned at different angles so that various pictures may be produced. Each image taken is referred to as a slice. The slice is recorded on film and is later referred to as a tomogram.
What are the usual parts visualized?
Usually, this diagnostic procedure is done on:
- The head for injuries like skull fractures, blood clots, and tumors.
- The spine for a viewing of the vertebral column and spinal cord.
- Other bones for evaluation of bone density. This is common in osteoporosis clients.
- The chest for visualization of cysts, infections, and tumors.
- The abdomen to get a clear look at the liver, stomach, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, aorta, kidneys, uterus, and ovaries.
Is contrast material necessary?
Contrast material or dyes are sometimes used to enhance the scanning. For example, it may be added to the spinal fluid so that a better image of the spine, spinal cord, and the nerves may be seen. The dye is usually administered via the veins.
What are the risks involved?
This is a very low-risk procedure. The most adverse reaction is hypersensitivity to the intravenous contrast material. Clients are often asked if they are allergic to seafood since the dyes are iodine-based. Pregnant women in their first trimester of pregnancy are also not advised to have scans due to the danger of radiation on the fetus.
What preparations are needed?
Food and fluids are restricted several hours before the scanning. Physical exams and history-taking is also done. All metallic objects and certain pieces of clothing should be removed so that the clarity of the diagnostic imaging may be good.