CT scan is one of the modern methods commonly used to diagnose diseases and detect tumors. From there, make the appropriate treatment regimen.
However, what should be noted when taking a CT scan? And the process and the impact level of the CT scan method, especially for young children and pregnant women, not everyone understands.
What is a CT scan?
Many people often hear about a CT scan but still do not understand what a CT scan is and what it does.
Computed Tomography (CT) is also known as computed tomography or computed tomography scan. This is a remarkable achievement in medicine through imaging for the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease.
To perform the computerized tomography method, the CT machine will surround the patient's body and emit multiple X-rays projected on the patient's body in a cross-section.
Thanks to modern technology that will collect information and process through computers, images of the parts to be taken on the patient's body will be displayed in 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional space.
Compared with the X-ray method, the radiographic CT scan gives a sharper and more detailed image.
Where Does CT Scan Apply?
The doctor will ask the patient to conduct a CT scan to diagnose in the following cases:
• Helps detect abnormal signs related to the nervous system, skull, and brain such as cerebral edema, bleeding or anemia, detecting tumors, hematomas formed by brain stamping …
• Diagnosis of diseases related to musculoskeletal disorders such as fractures or bone tumors.
• Diagnosis through imaging, tumors, malformations, abscesses, and body diseases such as head, face, abdomen, chest, heart … soft tissues and vascular pathology.
• Assist with surgical methods, radiation therapy, and biopsy.
• Monitor the effectiveness of treatment, typically the stage of cancer.
• Plastic surgery aids commonly used in congenital diseases, thanks to 3D reconstruction.
There are no absolute contraindications to CT scans. But for women who are pregnant in the early stages, X-rays have the potential to cause fetal malformations.
The combination of X-rays with photosensitive injections is contraindicated in patients with severely impaired hepatic and renal function, with component allergy of contrast agent and dehydration high fever.
Risks of CT Computed Tomography
Although a CT scan is highly effective in diagnosis, many patients who are assigned a CT scan wonder if the head CT scan has any effect? Especially children with CT scans have any effect?
Overall, CT scan is a modern method with high safety. The radiation used in this method is within the permissible level. Therefore, although during the scan, the patient must be exposed to radiation but still ensure safety.
Besides, the current CT scan is taking place in a fast time, so the patient does not need to worry that the body is exposed to X-rays for too long to affect.
For CT scans of young children, parents should consult a doctor about the specific case for detailed instructions and understand the principles before conducting the scan.
Besides, there are still some risks with low probability from CT scan that patients may face such as:
• Radiation exposure: Radiation exposure has the potential to lead to cancer, but there are no studies showing that the long-term harms of CT scans have on the body, so there is no need to worry.
• Effects on the fetus: If the patient is a pregnant woman, it is necessary to inform the doctor in advance of specific instructions. It is likely that doctors will turn to safer alternatives such as MRI or ultrasound to minimize the risk of harm to the fetus, albeit at a very low rate.
• The combination with the contrast can cause some side effects with mild symptoms such as itching, vomiting, fever … Patient should inform the doctor to avoid re-use of medicines. Contains irritants.
How Does the CT Scan Work?
The CT scan process consists of 3 stages before the scan, during the scan, and after the scan. At all three stages, there are a number of problems the patient also needs to take into account to ensure accurate results and smooth processes.
Before CT scan
Depending on the part of the body that will take a CT scan, doctors will have more specific instructions, but in general:
• Patient needs to change into specialized clothes for CT scan provided by the hospital.
• Remove metal objects on the body such as jewelry, accessories and dentures, hearing aids, glasses, metal-rimmed bras … to avoid affecting image quality. when shooting.
• Do not eat or drink before the CT scan for 4-6 hours. Before 2 hours of taking the scan, you can drink filtered water, but with a limited amount.
• Patients should inform their doctor before taking the scan, especially conditions such as asthma, drug allergy, liver, kidney failure, diabetes.
• If the patient is pregnant or suspects that he or she is pregnant, he or she should also inform the doctor to have an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan, to avoid harm to the fetus.
• For young children, parents need to reassure the baby. In the case of an infant or in the pursuit of too small, it will be necessary to comfort the baby to sleep or inject a sedative if combined with contrast injection to avoid fussy baby, movement is image noise.
During CT scan
• Doctors will guide patients to lie on the bed (exam table) in the CT room with a special position depending on the scan position.
• The normal CT scan takes place quite quickly. Including the preparation, the phase is from 30-45 minutes while taking only about 3-5 minutes.
• When instructed to position the patient should lie still to avoid movement. In the case of a CT scan of the abdomen and chest, the patient will have to hold their breath as directed by medical staff.
• Contrast may be effective immediately during the scan causing a hot sensation to spread to the body, at which time the patient should try to endure it as the sensation disappears very quickly after a few seconds.
After CT scan
After the CT scan is completed, the patient can resume eating or drinking if no further tests are required by the doctor.
For patients with contrast injection after the scan will have to keep the intravenous infusion and rest for 30-40 minutes under the supervision of the doctor.
If no abnormal signs occur, the patient will be removed from the body, need to fold their hands or hold the injection site for about 5 minutes.
Then the patient can return home and do normal activities. But be careful to drink plenty of filtered water within 24 hours after CT scan to flush the residual drug out of the body.
The injection of contrast will have certain side effects such as vomiting, dizziness, itching of the skin … If abnormal signs appear after a CT scan, the patient should immediately notify the doctor to receive treatment instructions.
How is CT Results Return Time?
Usually, about 30-45 minutes after the CT scan, doctors will immediately return the results to the patient. For cases that need a consultation, it may take longer depending on the situation.
When receiving the results, patients should ask their doctor to read the results for accurate understanding and consult a doctor when there are questions related to the disease and the CT scan.
Contrast Injected CT Scan Process
In cases where abnormal masses need to be clearly visualized, doctors will combine the appointment of patients using a contrast agent through the gastrointestinal tract, or intravenously. From there, making the diagnosis more accurate.
In the contrast, the drug contains an iodine component. Contrast injection CT scans will help the lesions capture the contrast and show bright white in the CT scan, helping the doctor differentiate from the normal surrounding structures.
When injecting contrast drugs there are cases that will experience side effects such as nausea, dizziness, itching, hives, some other patients have a fever, chills.
In these cases, doctors will recognize the signs of a contrast allergy on the patient's body and in the future will not reuse the drug with the allergen.
How Much Does a CT Scan Cost?
How much CT scan cost is probably one of the concerns of many patients. It is actually very difficult to determine the exact cost of a CT scan.
Because the CT scan depends on the medical center, the modern equipment, the quality of the scanner, and the position of the scan on the body will have different prices. The use of contrast or not also increases the cost of the CT scan service.
But one thing patients should be assured that when conducting CT scans, doctors will conduct consultation depending on the condition to determine the price before proceeding.
In general, the price you can refer to is from 800,000 VND – 5 million VND. You can also ask for advice and experience from a relative or friend who has had a CT scan to get a more specific view.
CT scan is a method of high diagnostic value, helping to detect many diseases. Hopefully, through this article, you have a better understanding of the CT scan method and how to prepare mentally. But it should be noted that it is advisable to follow your doctor's instructions for the most accurate results.
The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.