4 Tips to Help You Navigate Your Way Through a CT (CAT) Scan

Are you facing the prospect of a CT scan to help diagnose a potentially life-threatening illness like cancer? Or, have you been in a serious accident, and the attending medical specialists need to see whether there are any internal injuries to organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, and pancreas?

No doubt facing a CT or CAT scan can be a challenging experience; especially, if it is to diagnose a life-threatening illness or injury. However, as CAT scans Boise, ID reiterate, it is not necessary to worry about the procedure.

What is a CT scan?

Medicalnewstoday.com defines a “computerized tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan” as a form of x-ray machine that “combines data from several x-rays to produce a detailed image of structures inside the body.”

As the human body moves through the scanner arc, the CT scanner “emits a series of narrow beams through the human body.” Consequently, it produces a more detailed picture than an x-ray machine. As a result, the CT scan shows different levels of density and shows tissue within an organ.

While the scan is in progress, the data is sent to a computer that is capable of building up a 3D cross-section of the human body. A contrast dye is sometimes used to improve the contrast and density of the soft tissue organs.

Tips to help you get through a CT scan with ease

While it is understandable that having to go for a CAT scan can be stressful, here are several tips to help you get through the experience.

Wear comfortable clothing

X-rays used to scan the human body; thus, you can’t wear any jewelry, belts with metal buckles, or any other clothing with metal on them during the procedure. Therefore, it’s best to leave most, if not all of these, at home. Secondly, it is a good idea to arrive wearing comfortable, loose clothing. And finally, even though you have come prepared wearing comfortable clothing, you might still be asked to change into a hospital-type gown.

Fasting scans and scans using contrasting liquid

Depending on the type of scan your physician has ordered, you might be asked to fast for at least 4 hours before the scan. And some studies use an oral contrast or IV contrast for a highly visible result. If so, these will be administered when you arrive for your appointment, either orally or via an IV drip inserted into a vein in your body.

The scan

For the scan itself, you will be asked to lie still on a table that moves through the scanner arc. A rotating device emits the x-rays that pass through your body, capturing thin slices of your body that are combined by the attached computer to provide a detailed view of your anatomy.

Finally, depending on what part of your body is being scanned, the technologist might need to give you breathing instructions at various stages during the scan.

After the scan

Once the scan is complete, you will be able to get on with your normal day. There are no extra time-based restrictions. Finally, if you were administered a contrast, you’ll be advised to drink fluids as the contrast passes through your body.

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