X-rays used in CT scans should have no immediate side effects. CT can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, unlike MRI. Like traditional x-rays, it produces multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. MRI may be more suitable than CT for demonstrating injured ligaments, the status of the intervertebral disks, spinal cord abnormalities and hematomas in the area of the spine. Though the scan is painless, you may have some discomfort from remaining still for several minutes or from placement of an IV. Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions and whether you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. The scans can help rule out other causes, such as a slipped disc or … Any motion, including breathing and body movements, can lead to artifacts on the images. PET scans use a radioactive tracer to show how an organ is functioning in real time. CT images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater detail than traditional x-rays, particularly of soft tissues and blood vessels. Scan duration depends on the speed, type, and mode of CT scan and clinical application. This loss of image quality can resemble the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object. Computed tomography (CT) scan. A PET scan is sometimes helpful in further defining a nodule. CT scans produce excellent detail used to diagnose osteoarthritis and fractures. Please type your comment or suggestion into the text box below. Parathyroid 4D-CT is particularly useful when other imaging studies have been negative (failed to show the abnormal parathyroid gland) or when the anatomy of the neck has been distorted by prior surgery or co-existent thyroid disease. The costs for specific medical imaging tests, treatments and procedures may vary by geographic region. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. Web page review process: This Web page is reviewed regularly by a physician with expertise in the medical area presented and is further reviewed by committees from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR), comprising physicians with expertise in several radiologic areas. Unlike conventional x-rays, CT scanning provides very detailed images of many types of tissue as well as the lungs, bones, and blood vessels. Doctors use CT scans (or CAT scans) to look for broken bones, cancers, blood clots, and more. An MRI can be better at detecting abnormalities of the spinal cord, bulging discs, small disc herniation’s, pinched nerves and other soft tissue problems. These images are then displayed on a monitor. A message to our Patients - COVID-19 Update - Office Procedures. MRI scans are better for imaging water-containing tissue. Some imaging tests and treatments have special pediatric considerations. You may be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. Bones appear white on the x-ray. In a conventional x-ray exam, a small amount of radiation is directed through the part of the body being examined. This difference allows the doctor to distinguish body parts from one another on an x-ray or CT image. It's especially beneficial for children, the elderly and critically ill – anyone who finds it difficult to stay still, even for the brief time necessary to obtain images. Depending on the type of CT scan, the machine may make several passes. RadiologyInfo.org, RSNA and ACR are not responsible for the content contained on the web pages found at these links. After a CT exam, the technologist will remove the intravenous line used to inject the contrast material. Rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry. This will pass. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate control room. A long CT scan duration likely requires a long contrast medium injection. These measure the amount of radiation being absorbed throughout your body. You may feel warm or flushed while the contrast is injected. Some tumors that arise elsewhere are first identified by finding deposits of, guide diagnostic procedures such as the biopsy of a suspicious area to detect cancer, or the removal of fluid from a localized infection (. To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the ACR-accredited facilities database. CT imaging is sometimes compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices. If you have a hard time staying still, are very nervous, anxious or in pain, you may find a CT exam stressful. A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy. 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