CT Scan - Helped With Your Diagnosis

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Why are CT scans performed?

CT scans are performed to analyze the internal structures of various parts of the body. This includes the head, where traumatic injuries, (such as blood clots or skull fractures), tumors, and infections can be identified. In the spine, the bony structure of the vertebrae can be accurately defined, as can the anatomy of the intervertebral discs and spinal cord. In fact, CT scan methods can be used to accurately measure the density of bone in evaluating osteoporosis.

Occasionally, contrast material (an X-ray dye) is placed into the spinal fluid to further enhance the scan and the various structural relationships of the spine, the spinal cord, and its nerves. Contrast material is also often administered intravenously or through other routes prior to obtaining a CT scan (see below). CT scans are also used in the chest to identify tumors, cysts, or infections that may be suspected on a chest X-ray. CT scans of the abdomen are extremely helpful in defining body organ anatomy, including visualizing the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, aorta, kidneys, uterus, and ovaries. CT scans in this area are used to verify the presence or absence of tumors, infection, abnormal anatomy, or changes of the body caused by trauma.

The technique is painless and can provide extremely accurate images of body structures in addition to guiding the radiologist in performing certain procedures, such as biopsies of suspected cancers, removal of internal body fluids for various tests, and the draining of abscesses which are deep in the body. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive and have markedly decreased the need to perform surgery to accomplish the same goal.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: meowmix, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

In December, I was in the hospital diagnosed with gastroenteritis but came back as inpatient within a day of discharge. I drank contrast and had a CT scan which showed that I had an intestinal blockage. The CT scan should have been done the first time but I'm on the road to recovery.

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Comment from: Mae, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

After having blood in urine one time, I mentioned it to my doctor and took some medications for infection but minute particles of blood were still there. I didn"t have insurance so I had to pay out of pocket for colonoscopy, endoscopy, and two pints of blood. My hemoglobin was 6 and I was coughing and lost 70 lbs in a year. A CT scan showed I had cancer in my right kidney, adrenal glands, lymph nodes and lungs. A kidney biopsy confirmed I had an aggressive stage 4 kidney (renal cell) cancer. While my cancer is incurable, it is treatable with targeted therapy (daily pills for four weeks, two weeks off). I get a CT scan every three months and so far, my tumors are shrinking. When these pills no longer work, they will try others. My first doctor told me I would live 2 months to a year. Second opinion gave me the same medications but said I could die of something else before the cancer will kill me. I switched doctors!

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