CT defines normal and abnormal structures and is also used as guidance for certain procedure such as biopsy, placement of drains and infiltrations. Specific indications for a CT scan can be obtained under the heading of interest.
Are there any risks to undergoing CT?
Iodinated contrast material is often used to opacify blood vessels and other abnormalities. The patient must thus notify the department of any allergies to Penicillin or sea food/iodine before contrast is injected. Specific medications can be prescribed to prevent an adverse reaction.
The contrast is excreted via the kidneys. In the elderly or in those with kidney dysfunction, a blood test to assess kidney function is required as iodine can adversely affect the kidneys. Please arrange to have a urea and creatinine done the day before the study. As a CT scan involves radiation, female patients must notify us of possible pregnancy.
What is going to happen?
Patients are usually scanned on their backs but sometimes other positions are adopted. The scans are fast and the patient does not lie in a tunnel as with MRI. The procedure is painless other than a small needle prick when contrast is injected. When iodine contrast material is used, it is not uncommon to get a metallic taste in your mouth and experience a ‘hot flush.’ This rapidly disappears. The Radiologist is equipped to manage any adverse contrast reaction. The needle will be removed after the scan is completed. Results will be available the same day.