Diagnostic imaging is incredibly valuable in diagnosis because it allows doctors to internally examine the affected area of your body. One of the most common and effective diagnostic imaging procedures is CT scans.
Computerized tomography (CT) scans use x-ray beams to provide doctors with images of the inside of your body. Patients lay down while an arc sends x-ray beams through the body, collecting them on the other end of the arc in order to compare the strength between the beams. This gives doctors valuable insight into what’s happening internally and aids dramatically in the diagnostic process.
Many people have heard of CT scans, but not everyone has gotten one and not everyone knows why they might need to get one. So, if your doctor has prescribed one, or if you’ve ever wondered, “Do I need a CT scan?” and didn’t know the answer, here are 5 reasons why:
- You can’t get an MRI
Not all imaging procedures are the same, and sometimes there are factors that limit the type of imaging exams a patient is able to undergo. Next to CT, MRIs are the most commonly prescribed imaging scan. MRI and CT scans are similar, but there are a few factors that set them apart and a few reasons why doctors may opt for one procedure over another for a particular patient.
CT scans are much less sensitive to movement and take less time to perform than MRI scans, so if you have an injury that prevents you from lying still or comfortably for 30-60 minutes, it might be better to get a CT scan. This can also be true if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, as that prohibits you from undergoing an MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in your body.
- You’re undergoing some form of cancer treatment
CT scans help doctors plan and administer radiation treatments for patients with cancerous tumors since they provide such accurate detail in the images, especially when imaging soft tissue. CT scans also play a large role in helping doctors monitor the patient’s response to chemotherapy since they can show both whether cancer has spread and, if so, to what extent. CT scans are commonly used to detect masses and track cancer in the liver, kidneys, and lungs.
- You need to examine your bones
In addition to providing doctors images of soft tissue, organs, and bone injuries, CT scans also aid doctors with the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis as well as other similar diseases. CT scans are incredibly useful in diagnosing osteoporosis as they can measure the bone density of patients. Bone density issues and diseases are more common in women and people over the age of 65. As CT scans use radiation, please discuss with your doctor your risks and medical history. Another commonly prescribed bone density test is a DEXA ( dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan
- You need to have your brain examined.
Of course, there are many reasons as to why doctors might need to examine the internal situation of a patient’s head, but CT scans help doctors by providing them with detailed images of the brain. So, whether it’s a blunt trauma injury or a tissue-related disease that your doctor suspects you may be suffering from, doctors can use brain CT scans to better diagnose and treat issues that would otherwise be difficult to do so.
Head CT scans are often performed to help diagnose:
- Aneurysms of cerebral vessels
- Disorders of the eye and inner ear
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord disorders
- Brain injury from trauma
- You need a scan quickly
Since they are extremely quick and highly effective, CT scans are oftentimes the imaging procedure of choice in emergency situations, where speed is often needed in order to help the patient in time to save their life. Patients who are hurt after something like a car accident might need a CT scan to find and treat internal injuries quickly. Doctors may also use CT in follow-up exams to double-check initial findings and determine future treatments.
At the end of the day, there are endless reasons why you might need a CT scan. However, knowing some situations that typically require a CT scan can help someone understand when doctors might need to use CT scans to examine patients and their injuries. Since CT scans can give doctors clear images of bones, soft tissues, muscles, organs, large blood vessels, the brain, and nerves, CT scans are a diverse and useful tool in a number of diagnostic situations.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.