Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Whether you need to diagnose a muscle or bone disorder, find the location of an infection or blood clot, or monitor conditions such as heart disease or cancer, a CT scan may help. Tri-County Health Care's expert radiology technicians are trained to take accurate images while ensuring you are calm and comfortable.
What is a CT scan?
A computed tomography (CT) scan is a noninvasive medical test that aids providers in making a diagnosis and administering medical treatment.
CT scanning combines special S-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images of the inside of the body. They provide detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of internal body tissues which can be examined on a computer monitor, printed out or transferred to CD in a digital format. These scans include internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels, providing greater clarity and revealing more details than a regular X-ray.
Radiologists interpret the scans and, with the information, can more easily diagnose issues such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, blood clots, injuries, appendictis, trauma, musculoskeletal disorders and spinal problems.
Tri-County Health Care owns its own in-house 128-Slice CT Scan. This scanner uses leading-edge technology for radiological diagnosis, scanning the whole body in seconds to provide incredibly sharp 3-D images of any organ or part of the body.
Benefits of CT scans:
- Noninvasive and accurate
- Provide detailed images of many types of tissue
- Fast, simple and cost-effective tool for a wide range of clinical problems
- Less sensitive to movement than an MRI
- May eliminate need for exploratory surgery
- No radiation remains in the body after exam
- No immediate side effects
How should you prepare?
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing or wear gowns provided to you for the procedure
- Remove metal objects (jewelry, glasses, dentures or hair pins) prior to exam
- Eating or drinking may be prohibited for several hours prior to the procedure because contrast materials may be used for better viewing
Be sure to ask your physician or technologist any questions relating to your examination.
Tell your doctor or technologist if you are:
- Pregnant, or think you may be pregnant
- Allergic to iodine or other materials
- Undergoing radiation therapy
How will I learn the results?
Our radiologist will study the examination and consult with your provider, who will then discuss the results with you.
Lung Cancer Screening
As an ACR-accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center, TCHC offers its patients CT screening for lung cancer. The test uses low doses of radiation and a CT scan to capture detailed picture of the lungs.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for those at high risk for lung cancer. The Task Force identifies high-risk patients as those who:
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with approximately 160,000 people dying from it each year. The most common type of lung cancer – non-small cell – can sometimes be cured if it is found early enough. Evidence suggests that screening detects approximately one half of lung cancer cases at an early stage at which treatment is an option.
For more information or if you think you meet the criteria for lung cancer screening, make an appointment with your provider to discuss your options.
Medicare covers this annual screening for those who fit the criteria.
What is radiation?
Radiation occurs when energy (such as light, heat, etc.) is released from atoms and molecules as they change internally. Two types of radiation are natural and man-made.
Consisting of radioactive materials in the earth such as Uranium, Thorium and Radium. Radon is the first decay product of radium and is 55 percent of a person’s gross common exposure from annual background radiation.
Consisting of materials such as airport surveillance systems, consumer products, video display terminals, television receivers, medical procedures, nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel cycle and radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests.
How is radiation used in a medical setting?
A CT scan, X-ray and nuclear imaging all use ionizing radiation, which produces high-energy wavelengths that pass through your body in order to create an image of your internal tissues and organs. This type of radiation can damage your DNA, but your body typically repairs most of the damage.
Humans are exposed to small amounts of ionizing radiation every day from naturally occurring sources. Because we are unable to control natural background radiation, exposure from artificial sources must be limited to protect the general population from further biological damage.
When it comes to CT scans, exposure to radiation has both a benefit and a risk. The amount of radiation you receive from a CT scan will vary depending on which body part is being scanned, the type of equipment, and the type of procedure. The benefit of a being able to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, thereby preventing future problems, far outweighs the risk resulting from the radiation exposure.