Also known as Computed Tomography, CT scans can scan any part of the body; this means that they have many different medical uses. CTs are most often used to screen for cancer, diagnose the stage for a type of cancer, diagnose the extent of trauma and damage to the body, and develop plans for treatment of different medical issues. Let’s take a look at how CT scans work, how long they take, and address a few more common questions we hear regularly at our office.

How Does A CT Scan Work?

Essentially, a CT scanner is an x-ray machine; this means that it uses ionizing radiation to create images of the inside of a patient’s body. In addition to being more precise and directable, CT machines can use contrast, a medical technique used to provide higher levels of detail in the final image. CT scanners take cross-sectional images that can be spliced together (if the computer is 3-D ready) to create three-dimensional images of the scanned area.

There are also several non-medical applications for CT scans. For further reading on this topic, check out 3 Things CT Is Used For.

How Long Does A CT Scan Take?

The duration of your CT scan will depend on the volume of the area being scanned and questioned. CT scans can take anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour. Your CT technician will inform you how long your scan will take before they begin.

What Happens During A CT Scan?

Getting a scan is pretty straightforward. You will change into a medical gown; this ensures that you won’t have any clothing on that will impede the technology’s ionizing radiation to penetrate your skin. You will need to lie horizontally on a medical table – usually, this table is part of the machine itself. You will lie as still as possible for the duration of the procedure.

How Much Radiation Is Used During A CT Scan?

Keep in mind that you and your doctor should always be discussing the risks and the benefits of any procedure. If your doctor has recommended a CT scan, there is a very good reason. If you feel that the reason does not outweigh the risks, ask your doctor to explain their thought process to you. In general, CT scans are safe; there are many radiation myths that have remained – don’t let them stop you from getting the care you need. 

What Is The Difference Between CT and MRI?

The biggest difference between these diagnostic imaging procedures is the amount of radiation that the patient is exposed to. CT scans are a type of x-ray imaging technology, so a patient will be exposed to a moderate amount of ionizing radiation during a scan. MRI scans, on the other hand, use magnets to create images, forgoing the use of radiation entirely. For more information about the differences between CT and MRI, check out: What’s the Difference Between an MRI and a CT Scan?

Diagnostic Imaging In Manhattan

Has your doctor requested a CT scan? If so, contact our team of professional imaging technicians and radiographers for assistance. We offer many different Diagnostic Imaging procedures that your doctor may request.