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CT Scan

Computed tomography (CT), more commonly known as a CAT scan, obtains multiple graphical images of body parts from many different angles using special X-ray equipment. These images are then joined together to form 3-dimensional graphical cross-sections. The radiologists at Diagnostic Professionals, Inc. (DPI) are highly trained in performing CT scans in Broward County, Florida to help diagnose your health condition.

DPI also offers Whole Body LifeScan, an imaging procedure that scans the brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis to give you a comprehensive picture of your total health.

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan is an X-ray procedure that uses a computer to generate 3-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body. Using X-ray beams that pass through the body to measure how different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation, CT scans build an anatomical picture of an area of the body under investigation.

Each individual image obtained during a CT scan is processed by a computer to produce cross-sectional pictures of the body. In each of these pictures the body is seen as an X-ray "slice" of the body, and the recorded image is called a tomogram. "Computerized Axial Tomography" refers to the recorded tomogram "sections" at different levels of the body.

CAT 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.

CT or CAT scans are so detailed that they can show and distinguish between bone tissue, soft tissue, internal organs, muscles, and tumors, empowering physicians with a unique tool to diagnose medical conditions and aid their treatment.

Computed tomography is a diagnostic imaging tool that has huge potential due to its ability to provide painless, quick, and detailed internal images of the body, as well as being the only method that provides detailed images of bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels, allowing doctors to detect life-threatening conditions, such as cancer.

What is CTA?

DPI also offers CTA, or computed tomography angiography (CTA), an examination that uses X-rays to visualize blood flow in arterial and venous vessels throughout the body, from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, arms, and legs.

Compared to catheter angiography, which involves placing a sizable catheter and injecting contrast material into a large artery or vein, CTA is a much less invasive and more patient-friendly procedure; contrast material is injected into a small peripheral vein using a small needle or catheter. This type of exam has been used to screen large numbers of individuals for arterial disease. Most patients undergo CT angiography without being admitted to a hospital.

How safe is CT?

While CT or CAT scans are a powerful diagnostic imaging tool, they do carry some risks.

Radiation: CT scans require some exposure to radiation. Radiation doses from CT scans vary from patient to patient. A particular radiation dose will depend on the size of the body part examined, the type of procedure, and the type of CT equipment and its operation.

Radiation exposure is known to potentially increase the risk of cancer. However, patients should note that this risk is far outweighed by the benefits that can be achieved with a CT scan. This is especially true for patients who are suspected or known to already have cancer. A CT scan could mean the difference between stopping the disease in its tracks, or letting it spread throughout the body.

Allergic Reaction: The most common “side effect” of a CT scan is an allergic reaction to the contrast material, if one is used. These reactions usually result from the iodine in the contrast material.

Typically, the effects of iodine include a “flushed” feeling throughout the body, a metallic taste in the mouth, and possible itchiness on various parts of the body. In rare cases, more severe allergic reactions can occur, and range from bumps or hives on the skin to shortness of breath and swelling of the throat.

Newer contrast materials pose less risk of an allergic reaction. If you know you have had adverse reactions to iodine in the past, tell your doctor. He or she may decide to use a newer material instead.

What will I experience during CT?

Computed tomography is a painless procedure. A CT scan often requires the patient to lie still in one position for a short period of time. It also often requires the patient to hold his or her breath (though with fast spiral CT scanners, the scan is very quick). These aspects of the CT scan can be uncomfortable. Some patients may require a sedative.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of CT?

CT is more powerful and more detailed than conventional X-rays. Conventional X-ray scans are rays of electromagnetic radiation used to diagnose and treat trauma and disease. When X-ray beams pass through the body, 2-dimensional images are created based on shadows made by body structures in the area being photographed. The image depends on the body structure’s absorption of the X-rays.

CT scans, meanwhile, produce a 3-dimensional cross-section of a particular body part. These images, too, are measures of X-ray absorption; however, many slices of the body join together to form an image. Typically, bone turns up white; air turns up black; and tissues and mucous turn up in shades of gray.

What is a total CT scan or LifeScan?

A total CT scan (also called a whole body CT scan or CT body scan) creates images of nearly the entire body. The images typically run from the head to below the hips. Some patients believe this procedure to be beneficial in scanning the body for signs of disease, a sort of preventive form of health care.

LifeScan includes brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis scans that can reveal early signs of cancer in the brain, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and gallbladder.

  • The brain scan may reveal benign or malignant tumors or infections.
  • The chest scan may locate lung tumors, scar tissue, emphysema, and infection.
  • The abdomen and pelvis scan may identify tumors in the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and the gallbladder, as well as detect cysts, gallstones, and kidney stones.
  • We will look for enlarged lymph nodes and we will check the condition of your pelvis, hip joints, middle and lower spine, and arteries.

One of our board-certified radiologists will study your scans and compose a detailed report for you and our DPI LifeScan physician. The DPI LifeScan physician will discuss the results of your LifeScan and will provide you with helpful lifestyle recommendations and treatment options.

If health risks are determined, you will be referred to a specialist for follow-up. You will leave with a comprehensive report and your LifeScan images on CD. You can then take the report to your personal physician or specialist to discuss the findings. LifeScan is not covered by insurance.

High Quality CT Scans in Broward County

For an appointment for a CT scan in Broward County, Florida, call Diagnostic Professionals, Inc. (DPI) at (954) 566-4551, or contact one of our four convenient locations. You may also use our online appointment request form at your convenience.