CAT Scan

What is it?

A test done to produce cross
sectioned pictures using xrays and computer enhancement. The images are
like slices of the body.

It is also called Computerized
Axial Tomography, or CT Scan
.

What is the purpose?

It is used when your doctor needs
more detailed information than regular x-rays can provide. Makes it
possible to detect even minor abnormalities.

Is there any special preparation?

If
you are having a CT with contrast(dye) you may be instructed to fast for
4-6 hours prior to the test. Failure to follow the instructions may
result in poor quality test results and the procedure may have to be
repeated.

You
may be asked to sign a consent form and put on a hospital gown.

How is it done?

You may be injected with a dye
before the procedure, this is called a CT with contrast. If you are
ordered a CT without contrast no injection will be given. You will lay
flat on a movable table that will run through a donut-like scanner. The
images are sent to a computer that will put them together in a cross
sectional view.

What happens afterwards?

There are usually no post test instructions.

What are the risks of this procedure?

The dye that is
usually used contains iodine. If you have an iodine allergy please alert
your physician prior to the test.

If
you are pregnant or may be pregnant you should notify your doctor. The
test may be postponed to prevent harm to the unborn child.

Does it hurt?

Of course if it
involves an injection, there is some pain involved. The dye is injected
directly into a vein, so it is the same pain you would have if you had
an I.V. started. This is usually very minimal pain, although some people
may experience a stinging sensation. You may feel a warm or cool
sensation as the dye is injected.

Laying
flat on a table for an hour or more may be painful or uncomfortable for
some people.

For more information:

MedicineNet
CAT Scan
Med
Expert.net CAT Scan

References:
Yale University School of Medicine, Patient’s Guide to Medical Tests
Adult Health Advisor -Arthrocentesis, Copyright Clinical Reference
Systems 1999
Medicinenet