CT Scanning is a non-invasive, painless and accurate way for your doctor to view and evaluate what’s going on inside your body. This test uses special X-ray equipment to create images of your body from many different angles. These images are assembled by computer to create a cross-section of your body and organs. CT imaging allows doctors to see your internal organs in much more detail than they could by looking at a traditional X-ray. CT scans are usually used to examine such organs as your brain, lungs, liver, pancreas, adrenal glands and bones. This technology can help physicians measure the exact size, location and extent of tumors. CT scans are used not just for diagnosis but also to help plan and guide radiation treatment, biopsies and even surgeries.
Wear comfortable clothing without zippers or snaps. Remove anything metal such as hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any removable dental work, depending on the part of the body that is being scanned. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam.
CT scanning is like regular X-ray exams in that small amounts of X-ray radiation pass through your body. In regular X-rays, the images produced by this radiation are captured on film. In CT scanning, thousands of images are captured and reassembled into two-dimensional slices. A rotating piece inside the CT scanner, called a gantry, emits fan-shaped X-ray beams and captures images as it rotates around your body. A newer technique called spiral CT captures images faster and with better resolution than ever. At ARMC , we use the most advanced CT scanning equipment available: the 64-slice.
During a scan, you lie on a table that moves slowly into the CT scanner. Sometimes, your doctor may need to use contrast materials to enhance visibility of different organs or tissues. Contrast can be swallowed, injected or given by enema. The exam takes between five and 30 minutes.
After the images have been captured, a radiologist (a doctor trained in reading CT scans, X-rays, and such) will take a look at the images and send a report to your doctor.
MRI is a non-invasive, painless and accurate test that gives your doctor detailed information about what’s going on inside your body. But instead of using X-ray beams to create images, MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves. During MRI , magnets make hydrogen atoms in your body line up in certain ways. Then radio waves are bounced off the hydrogen atoms and a computer records the signals. Different signals may be sent back by healthy tissue versus cancerous tissue.
How To Prepare for an MRI
Do not wear clothes with metal pieces such as snaps, zippers, underwires and so on. Remove jewelry, watches, hearing aids, removable dental work, eyeglasses and any other objects that can contain metal. You may be asked to not eat for four to six hours before your MRI . If you have any of these metal objects in your body, you cannot get an MRI :
You’ll lie down on a narrow table that will slide into the MRI machine. If you get freaked out in confined spaces, your doctor may give you a mild sedative. Small devices, called coils, may be placed around the head, arm, or leg, or other areas to be studied. These devices help send and receive the radio waves, and improve the quality of the images.
Certain exams require that a special dye (contrast) be given before the test. The dye is usually given through an intravenous line (IV) in your hand or forearm. The contrast helps the radiologist see certain areas more clearly. During the MRI , the person who operates the machine will watch you from a room next door.
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