What is Computed Tomography?

Computed Tomography (CT) is a painless scan that helps doctors diagnose various medical conditions. The test is noninvasive, i.e. it does not involve the use of any tools that physically enter your body. CT uses X-rays equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the body and a computer to process and join them together in cross sectional views of the area of the body being studied. The physician can examine the images on a computer. 

 

Types

  • CT plain
  • CT contrast
  • CT abdomen & pelvis

 

Indications

  • Cancers
  • Infectious diseases
  • Internal injuries and bleeding (trauma)
  • Disorders of the muscles and bones (musculoskeletal disorders)
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
  • To understand the areas involved in a psychiatric condition
  • To detect blockages or narrowing inside the blood vessel

 

Contraindications

There are no absolute contraindications for a CT scan. But the test may not be suitable for pregnant women as it could put the baby at risk.

 

How is it done?

  • For CT scan without contrast, you can eat and drink before your appointment. You can take your prescribed medications, if any. If your doctor has ordered a CT scan with contrast, you should not eat anything for at least four hours before your scan begins.
  • Before the test, you will need to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewellery or metal objects that you are wearing.
  • If a contrast dye is used, it will be given to you by mouth (oral contrast) or injected into a vein in your arm (intravenous). If your intestines are being scanned, the dye may be inserted into your rectum (enema). Some adults, and most frequently children, may be administered sedatives prior to scanning procedures.
  • You will be taken into the scanning room. If you have been given oral contrast, you will need to wait for about 45 to 60 minutes before being taken to the scanning room. This waiting time is needed for the contrast to move through your digestive tract.
  • The CT scanning machine is shaped like a doughnut. You will be made to lie on the imaging bed. After you have been positioned properly, the helper leaves the scanning room. The technician present in the console room can see you through a glass window.
  • The bed is moved slowly through the scanner. The X-ray machine will rotate around you and produce several images of of your body. You will need to lie very still while the images are being captured. When needed, the technician will instruct you to hold your breath for several seconds so that you remain still. The procedure takes for only few seconds.
  • The images created during the scan will be reviewed by the radiologist.

 

Time taken

The procedure may take 20-30 minutes. If contrast is used, the whole procedure may take 1.5-2 hours.

 

Pricing range

Rs 3000 to Rs 25000

 

Special instructions

  • Book your appointment for the CT scan in advance.
  • If any plain scan is to be done, fasting is not required.
  • If your doctor has ordered a CT scan with contrast, don’t eat for four to six hours before the test.
  • Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, any drug allergies or other medical conditions that you have. Your doctor will instruct whether you should take your existing medications, if any, on the day of the test. Also, especially discuss any allergic reactions to iodine you may have experienced in the past.
  • If you are a woman, tell your doctor if there is any chance that you may be pregnant. Generally, CT scans are not recommended during pregnancy.
  • The contrast dye can be passed to your baby through breast milk. If you are a nursing mother, wait for 24-48 hours after contrast administration to resume breastfeeding. It may help to pump and store your breast milk beforehand when you undergo a contrast CT. You will be able to feed your baby the stored breast milk until the contrast dye is eliminated completely from your body. You may need to pump your breast milk and discard it until the dye is gone from your system.
  • You will need to sign a consent form that states you understand the benefits and risks of the CT scan and agree to undergo the test. If you have any concerns about the scan, talk with your doctor about the same.
  • You may also want to check your insurance plan to find out what it covers and whether you will have any out-of-pocket costs associated with the scan.
  • You can usually go back to your normal activities within a few minutes after the scan. After the test, you can eat and drink what you like. Drinking plenty of fluids can help your kidneys remove the contrast dye from your body.

 

Reports

Typically, you will get the test results within 24 hours. At MedCare, the test report can be collected at 4 p.m. the next day. In case of emergencies, the report may be made available within 3-4 hours.