Computed Tomography (CT)
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Once referred to as a """"CAT"""" scan this examination actually does not require the assistance of any 4-legged feline type creatures. It is however the most advanced x-ray and computer technology combined together to produce three-dimensional images of various parts of the body.
The simplest explanation of this technology is to imagine that your body is like a loaf of bread. This loaf has many slices to it and a CT scan allows us to look at each individual slice in great detail. The x-ray beam passes through the body and the information is relayed to a computer, which reconstructs the data into detailed images as little as one millimeter thick to ensure ultimate diagnostic analysis of bodily organs, bones, arteries and veins and many other structures of the body.
The CT scanner is a square machine with a round opening in the middle of it. A technologist will position the patient on a sliding table, which moves back and forth through the round opening. The scanner is then positioned in a manner which will best aid in imaging the specific body part required. To better aid the technologist to visualize certain body parts a contrast solution is sometimes given by mouth, by injection, or sometimes both. Preparation for the scan varies depending on the area being examined and it is extremely important that patients follow the instructions that they are given prior to and during their examination to ensure the best possible results. Special precautions are taken for pregnant women, those with allergies, diabetics, children, and patients taking certain medications. On occasion, children may require a mild sedation or even general anesthesia and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Due to advances in this technology, in most cases examination times have been reduced significantly enabling the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region to decrease waiting lists for diagnostic testing, increase the number of examinations performed, and improve the quality of diagnostic testing and treatment options. Examination times may vary from ten minutes to forty-five minutes, however patients are advised that their wait could be one to two hours depending on the use of the scanner for emergent, or critical examinations, which take priority over routine examinations.