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A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan allows doctors to see inside your body. It uses a combination of x-rays and a computer to generate high-resolution images of your organs, bones, and other tissues. A CT scan shows more detail than a regular x-ray. CT scans are quick and can be done to any part of the body.


How do CT scans work?

They use a narrow X-ray beam that circles around the part of your body being scanned. This provides a series of images, or "slices" from many different angles. The computer then organizes these 2D images into a series of slices, like one piece in a loaf of bread. The process is repeated, and this provides a very detailed images of your organs, bones and other tissue. This allows for viewing of the system in question to look for abnormalities or concerning findings.

How are CT scans done?

Tests have a preparation process that needs to be followed, often times involving not eating or drinking for a certain amount of time. You will be notified of the requirements when your test is scheduled. A radiology technologist will perform the CT scan. During the test, you lay on a table inside a large, doughnut-shaped CT machine. The table is used to position the part of your body being scanned into the correct position. The machine makes some whirring or buzzing noises during operation. For the best images, you'll be asked to lay as still as possible, and follow any instructions the technologist gives during the test. How long the scan takes will depend on what parts of your body are being scanned. Sometimes multiple parts of your body are scanned, so it can take a bit longer. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to forty five minutes.

What are they used for?

Since CT scans are much more detailed than X-Rays, they are used to detect bone and joint problems, like complex bone fractures and tumors. The detail of the CT imaging can provide visibility into damaged tendons or ligaments, or very fine fractures of bone. CTs of the chest can diagnose COVID-19, and provide visibility in changes in the lung tissue due to breathing conditions such as emphysema, COPD and damage caused by smoking. Scans can be used to find internal injuries and bleeding, such as those caused by a car accident. They can help locate a tumor, blood clot, excess fluid, or infection. Doctors use them to guide treatment plans and procedures, such as biopsies, surgeries, and radiation therapy. Doctors can compare CT scans to find out if certain treatments are working. For example, scans of a tumor over time can show whether it’s responding to chemotherapy or radiation.

What Is a CT scan with contrast?

In a CT scan, dense substances like bones stand out. But soft tissue appears faint. Tests to look at that soft tissue requires a special dye called a contrast material. They block the X-rays and appear white on the scan, highlighting blood vessels, organs, or other structures more clearly. Contrast materials are usually made of iodine or barium sulfate. Depending on the test, you may receive these drugs in either of these ways: • Injection: The drugs are injected directly into a vein. This is done to help your blood vessels, urinary tract, liver, or gallbladder stand out in the image. • Orally: Drinking a liquid with the contrast material can enhance scans of your digestive tract, the pathway of food through your body. After the CT scan, you’ll need to drink plenty of fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body. If contrast is required for your scan, it will be discussed during the scheduling of your appointment. This can change how you need to prepare for the scan.


Accredited Service 

West Wichita Family Physician's CT modality has been certified by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for the past 9 years. ACR accreditation is recognized as the gold standard in medical imaging. This ensures that the quality of the images and your safety are our top priorities.