Computed tomography (CT) is an imaging technique that is used to assist your doctor in the diagnosis and monitoring of many diseases. Highland Springs Imaging Center offers the Somatoform Definition Computed Tomography scanner, a revolutionary new design from Siemens Medical Systems. This system has several advantages over other CT scan machines.
Our Low Radiation Dose CT Scan
Applying the lowest radiation dose possible is of utmost importance for our patients. With the new Somatotom CT scanner, you can be assured that we have taken every means available to you to protect you from unnecessary radiation. The scanner uses several techniques to limit the amount of radiation while providing excellent clinical images for our radiologists.
Open CT for all Patients
The Somatoform scanner has a large “bore,” or opening. At 80cm, this provides plenty of headroom to make you feel comfortable during your exam. The scanner also has a table load capacity of 300 kg (over 600 pounds). This gives our team the ability to scan patients of all sizes.
What You Should Know About Radiation Exposure
CT scanners use X-rays. Your radiation exposure is kept to a minimum. The competent and experienced CT staff nowadays have a whole series of dose saving functions at their disposal. Modern CT scanners are designed to ensure the consistent reduction of radiation exposure to patients and staff.
Today’s CT scanners offer an optimal combination of low radiation exposure and short examination times while maintaining excellent image quality. Siemens CT scanners, for example, come with a software package (CARE) especially designed to reduce radiation exposure. However, X-rays may harm a developing fetus. Pregnant women should therefore avoid having a CT scan.
What Happens During the Examination?
During the examination you will be lying on a comfortable patient table (usually on your back). This table will then slowly move you through the opening of the examination unit called the gantry. All you need to do now is pay attention to the instructions of the CT personnel who may, for example, ask you to briefly hold your breath or not to move certain regions of your body. As with conventional X-ray examinations, you will not feel the acquisition of CT images at all; you will only hear a low whirring noise. The patient table will move slightly during the entire examination.
How Long Does a CT Scan Take?
There is no general answer to this question. The duration of a CT examination depends on which body regions are scanned. Although with a modern spiral CT scanner the actual images are produced within a few seconds, you should expect the examination to last approximately 15 to 30 minutes. If a contrast medium is used, the examination will take longer. You may also have to drink a contrast medium that will coat the gastrointestinal tract approximately one hour before the CT scan takes place.
How Should You Prepare?
To ensure that optimal results are obtained, your cooperation is required. Please talk to the physician referring you to CT. He will give you detailed information on how to prepare yourself for the examination. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Like other X-ray examinations, CT scans should not be performed during pregnancy because of the exposure to radiation.
A few general tips:
- If you have images from previous examinations (including X-rays), please bring them with you
- For head and neck examinations: please remove all jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dentures or leave them at home
- For abdominal examinations: please ask your physician how many hours prior to the examination you should refrain from eating or drinking
- It is very important to let your physician know if you have had previous allergic reactions to a contrast medium, iodine or shellfish or if you have asthma
- If you have diabetes or take medication: Please inform the radiologist or his team.