Radiology & Imaging
Computerized tomography scan, also known as a CT scan, is available in Decorah, Iowa. CT scans are used to produce 3D images of the body and allow health care providers to view nearly any part of the body without having to perform surgery. It's especially beneficial for quickly detecting internal injuries due to a car accident or another type of trauma. CT scans are painless and typically take only a few minutes to complete.
CT scans can be compared to looking down at single slices of bread from the full loaf. Your provider will be able to look at each slice individually or perform additional visualization to view your body from different angles. In some cases, CT scans can be combined to create 3D images. CT scans can provide much more information than standard X-rays.
Your provider may recommend a CT scan to:
- Diagnose muscle and bone disorders, including bone tumors and fractures.
- Pinpoint the location of a tumor, infection or blood clot.
- Guide a procedure, including surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy.
- Detect and monitor diseases and conditions, including cancer, heart disease, lung nodules and liver masses.
- Monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments, including cancer treatment.
- Detect internal injuries and internal bleeding.
During a CT scan
A CT scanner is shaped like a large doughnut. The table you lie on will slide into the center of the doughnut hole, called the gantry, so the machine can X-ray the body from all angles. Pillows and straps may help you stay in position. During the scan, the table will move slowly through the gantry as it rotates in a circle around you. Each rotation yields several images of thin slices of your body. You may hear buzzing, clicking and whirring noises during the scan.
A technologist will be nearby in a separate room. You will be able to communicate with the technologist through an intercom. The technologist may ask you to hold your breath at certain times to avoid blurring the images.
After a CT scan
After the CT scan, you can return to your normal routine. If you were given a contrast material, you may receive special instructions. In some cases, you may be asked to wait for a short time before leaving to ensure you feel well after the scan.
After the scan, you'll be advised to drink fluids to help your kidneys remove the contrast material from your body.
The images from a CT scan are stored as electronic data files and are usually viewed on a computer screen. A radiologist interprets the images and sends a report to your primary care provider.