A CT (computed tomography) scan is a medical imaging procedure that uses multiple x-rays and digital computer technology to create detailed two or three dimensional images of the body. The CT scan may also be referred to by its older name of ‘CAT’ scan.
The cross-sectional images taken during a CT scan (a bit like a loaf of sliced bread) can be reformatted and are used to generate three-dimensional images. These images can be viewed on a computer monitor, printed on film or transferred to a disc.
Unlike other forms of medical imaging, the CT scan can make an image of every type of body structure at the same time, including bone, blood vessels and soft tissue.
CT images are taken by Radiographers and reported on by specialist doctors called Radiologists.
Why do I need a CT Scan?
CT Scans are used to diagnose and assess many injuries, traumas and diseases including vascular disease, tumors, bone mineral density and cancer, to name a few.
They are also used as a visual aid for certain procedures inside the body such as guided a needle biopsy or needle aspiration.
Do I need to prepare for the CT Scan?
Most CT Scans require preparation before the examination. This would usually include 4 hours of Fasting, Drinking water etc. depending on type of CT Scan you are having; this will be explained when you make your appointment.
For your examination the Radiographer may ask you to remove some clothing that might obstruct the accuracy of your images and wear a gown provided, where necessary. You will also be asked to remove all metal objects i.e. jewellery that may interfere with your images.
What happens during the CT Scan?
Before your CT Scan you will be asked to lie down on the CT Scanner table which slides through the circular ‘donut’ shaped CT Scanner.
During your CT Scan you will be asked to lie very still and hold your breath for a few seconds, while the table slowly slides in and out of the CT scanner.
There is no pain or discomfort during the CT Scan and your images are usually available on disc before you leave.
Are CT Scans dangerous?
Cynthia H. McCollough, Ph.D recently wrote in an article published on the Mayo Clinic website “At the low doses of radiation a CT scan uses, your risk of developing cancer from it is so small that it can’t be reliably measured” the full article can be viewed here. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ct-scan/expert-answers/ct-scans/faq-20057860)
Are CT Scans covered under MediCare?
Yes, CT Scans are bulk billed ($0 to you) with a valid referral and a current Medicare, DVA or Workcover card.
CT examinations are available at four of our Rural Medical Imaging practices; Innisfail, Ingham, Edmonton and Mareeba.
Do I need an appointment for a CT Scan?
Yes. Although there is usually little or no waiting times for a CT scan, appointments are essential as there is often some preparation required.