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Diagnostic Imaging/Radiology Services

NCH Diagnostic Imaging tests include:

(click on procedure name for more details):

* The ultrasound-guided liver biopsy video was produced by freehivinfo. The ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy video was produced by SouthSound Radiology. Northwest Community Healthcare does not have affiliations with these organizations.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan or sometimes called a CAT scan is a painless and a non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CAT is an abbreviated name for computerized axial tomography which uses a very thin special X-ray beam to produce detailed, cross sectional views of the area being studied. The images can be examined on a computer or printed. CT imaging is often the preferred method of diagnosing causes of pain and many different forms of cancer. CT imaging of the internal organs, bone, blood vessels and soft tissue can provide greater clarity than conventional x-ray exams.

In the emergent setting, CT imaging can quickly identify injuries to the internal organs. Many Emergency Rooms (including Northwest Community Hospital) have a dedicated CT scanner in the emergency room. CT imaging also plays a significant role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases that can lead to stroke, kidney failure or even death.

How it is performed

A CT scan is performed with the patient lying on a comfortable patient table, which will then move you through the opening of the CT scanner called the gantry. While the first CT units had a narrow gantry, modern day units have a wide opening to provide for patient comfort and reduce the risk of claustrophobia. During the exam, you might be asked to perform basic breathing techniques such as holding your breath or taking a deep breath in. You will not feel the acquisition of CT images at all; you will only hear a low whirring noise. Depending on the examination, a contrast agent might be necessary. This might include oral contrast taken by mouth or intravenous contrast given by an IV catheter. Most people tolerate the contrast medium without any problems and merely feel flushed for a moment. Since the contrast medium contains iodine which may cause an allergic reaction in some people, you should consult with your physician regarding any existing allergies prior to the examination.

How to prepare

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your CT exam. Metal objects can affect the image, so avoid clothing with zippers and snaps. You may also be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any removable dental work, depending on the part of the body that is being scanned. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam. Women should always inform their doctor or X-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

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Last Updated 2012/05/29