Computerized Tomography (CT Scan) is a process quite similar to an X-ray, but is more intense. This procedure takes a succession of x-ray images from different angles and analyses it in details. The images are processed in the computer to create cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside the body. CT Scans are often used to examine people who may have internal injuries or other types of trauma. The time needed to perform the scan varies depending on the part of the body being examined. Here we will give you the essential information and timeframe in scanning different body parts:
A head CT scan is performed in order to check the brain tissue and structure for any injuries or diseases. You will need to arrive 20 minutes prior to the exam and in case you have an I.V. in your body, a contrast will be injected through the I.V. and a delay of 5-10 minutes will have to take place. Depending on the grounds of your test, the procedure may take 10-30 minutes. The total process could take 30-40 minutes.
Chest or Lung CT scans usually take 30 minutes, including the preparation time. Typically, the actual scanning time is shorter. It is the preparation time that is longer. The process may take longer if the images captured are blurry due to a movement in your body while the scan was taking place.
A cardiac or heart CT scan is used to view the heart and blood vessels. This process may also be called a coronary CT angiogram if it’s meant to view the arteries that bring blood to the heart. These are performed to learn about birth defects, or injuries in the heart, or of there is a substance blocking the coronary arteries. This is a common test for people with heart ailments. This takes longer though since the patient is required to fast for 4 – 8 hours prior to the test. The patient will be asked to hold his breath for about 10 – 20 seconds at the beginning of the scan. The entire heart scan typically takes no longer than 10 minutes.
Abdomen and Pelvis. Abdominal and pelvis CT scan is performed to help detect diseases of the small bowel, colon and other internal organs. The patient will be asked to fast for a few hours prior to the scan. In cases where the patient has allergies, he will be required to take medications 12 hours prior to the procedure and the actual scan usually takes 5 – 15 minutes only.
The extremities include the arms, hips, pelvis, feet, ankles, wrists, and shoulders. The scan is often used to capture images of complex fractures, especially those around the joints. The procedure normally takes 10 – 20 minutes.
For all kinds of CT scans, the patients are required to remove all kinds of metal and jewelries in the body. It is also a must that they do not move during the procedure.