Before you go for your CT scan, you should be aware of what the scan is, and how it works. This will help inform you further about what you’re about to go through and relax you before you step foot into the building. Read on to learn more.
What A CT Scan Is
A CT scan, also known as a computerized tomography scan, is a specialized process that combines a wide range of techniques to scan inside your body. It works by using x-rays to take accurate pictures of your insides from multiple angles. The next step involves using computer processing power to cross-section the images, that can then give a further detailed look in comparison to the plain x-rays.
Why You Would Need One
A CT scan has many advantages. It is often used by doctors to quickly examine individuals who may be suffering from internal injuries that otherwise could not be looked at. For example, someone may have gotten into a car crash or entirely suffered a different type of trauma. The good news is that this type of scan can visualize almost every organ in your body, meaning that almost everything can be looked at.
How Much It Costs
Something that often puts people off of attending a CT scan, is the associated cost. This may be because they don’t have applicable health insurance or don’t want to pay the upfront cost, which can usually range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars. There are a few factors that can affect the cost. For example, the location of where you are based can fluctuate the price, especially with the medical staff’s experience. If they have the latest equipment, then that could also affect the price.
Depending on what you need scanning, that can also affect the price of your scan. For example, you may need your brain looking at, or something deep inside the tissues of your organs. Whatever it is, there is sure to be a price difference. Truthfully, it can be difficult to know how much a CT scan will cost, due to amount of factors that can alter it. Even if you have a direct contact with your current healthcare provider, they may still not have a clear answer for you.
Thankfully, there are resources out there that help explain not only how much a CT scan cost, but the alternatives available. This article provided by Ezra not only explains the reason behind CT scan prices but explains other diagnosis techniques that you could benefit from. For example, another great type of scan is an MRI scan. This helps to find abnormalities of potential cancers of the uterus, bladder or a few other major organs within your body.
It’s worth exploring multiple options, in order to give yourself the most accurate diagnosis you possibly can. You may have to search for different facilities or seek second opinions to make this happen. The main thing is gathering as much information as possible.
How To Prepare
To prepare for a CT scan, you will have to do certain things. The preparation you do will depend on what part of your body is being scanned. In most cases, you will need to be given something known as contrast material. This is a special type of dye that is applied to your body to help highlight the area of your body that needs examining. This contract material will block x-rays and shows up as white on images. This will show your doctor where the blood vessels are, as well as your intestines and other structures.
It can be given to you in a few different ways. Most commonly, it may be provided via a small liquid that will be swallowed. This will be if your esophagus or stomach is being scanned. Be warned, the drink isn’t exactly tasty, but it will be for the greater good.
Alternatively, you could receive contrast material by injection. These contrast agents will be injected into a vein in your arm. You are likely to receive these types of injections if you are having a scan to look at your gallbladder, urinary tract, liver, or a blood vessel. This will help these parts of you show up more with the end resulting images. When you receive an injection, you may experience a feeling of warmth inside you during the injection. It may also feel like a metallic taste in your mouth.
Another way you could receive the contrast material is through your rectum. This will be delivered via an enema. This can help visualize inside your intestines, but in the process may make you feel quite bloated and uncomfortable.
What You Can Expect During
When it comes to having your CT scan, you will have a few options to where you have it done. For example, you could go to a hospital or visit an outpatient facility. There will also be more specialized private facilities that you could look into. Thankfully, CT scans are painless and don’t take too much time at all. In fact, thanks to modern innovation, some machines only require a few minutes to process a scan. However, in general, the whole process may last around half an hour.
Most CT scanners are shaped much like a standing doughnut, with you being required to lie down on a narrow table. Once you’re settled in, you would be rolled through the tunnel. In some cases, you may be strapped down with pillows used to help keep you in one position. For brain and head scans in general, you may have to make use of a special cradle.
Once the process begins, you will notice the detectors and the X-ray tube itself rotate around you. These rotations move around you to take various pictures of your body, via thing slices. During the scan itself, it is likely you will hear different buzzing sounds and whirring noises in general.
The person in charge is known as a technologist, not to be confused with a technician, who performs a different job. Your technologist will be in a separate room to you, but you will be able to remain in constant communication with them via an intercom, and they can see you through some glass. They will give you instructions to follow, such as when to hold your breath or when to turn slightly if at all.
What Happens After
Immediately after your scan, you will largely be able to return to your normal routine. Although if you have been given contrast material, you may receive special instructions on how to remove it. Depending on your scan, you may need to wait a short time after to ensure that you’re okay before you’re good to leave. You will also be informed on the importance of drinking plenty of fluids, in order to flush out the contrast material from your body via your kidneys.
You may have to wait a certain amount of time to receive your results. It’s important to note that you will receive, or more accurately your doctor will receive, the results electronically, as they are stored as digital data files. They can be viewed on a computer, with a doctor who specialized in radiology, known as a radiology, interpreting the images before sending them back to your main doctor to consult with you.