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Multidetector CT/CTA

What is Multidetector CT/CTA?
Multidetector computed tomography(MDCT) is a form of CT technology for diagnostic imaging. In MDCT, a two-dimensional array of detector elements replaces the linear array of detector elements used in typical conventional and helical CT scanners. The two-dimensional detector array permits CT scanners to acquire multiple slices or sections simultaneously and greatly increase the speed of CT image acquisition.

CT scanning (sometimes called CAT scanning) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

CT imaging combine special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.

CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

What are some common uses of the procedure?
CT imaging is:

* one of the best and fastest tools for studying the chest, abdomen and pelvis because it provides detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of tissue.

* often the preferred method for diagnosing many different cancers, including lung, liver and pancreatic cancer, since the image allows a physician to confirm the presence of a tumor and measure its size, precise location and the extent of the tumor's involvement with other nearby tissue.

* an examination that plays a significant role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases that can lead to stroke, kidney failure or even death. CT is commonly used to assess for pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung vessels) as well as for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).

* invaluable in diagnosing and treating spinal problems and injuries to the hands, feet and other skeletal structures because it can clearly show even very small bones as well as surrounding tissues such as muscle and blood vessels.

Physicians often use the CT examination to:

* quickly identify injuries to the lungs, heart and vessels, liver, spleen, kidneys, bowel or other internal organs in cases of trauma.

* guide biopsies and other procedures such as abscess drainages and minimally invasive tumor treatments. * plan for and assess the results of surgery, such as organ transplants or gastric bypass.

* stage, plan and properly administer radiation treatments for tumors as well as monitor response to chemotherapy.

* measure bone mineral density for the detection of osteoporosis.
 
How can I prepare for my upcoming exam?
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.

Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.

You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours beforehand, especially if a contrast material will be used in your exam. You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies. If you have a known allergy to contrast material, or "dye," your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect.

Women should always inform their physician and the CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

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RadiologyInfo.org (www.radiologyinfo.org) - Current and accurate patient information about diagnostic radiology procedures, interventional radiology and radiation therapy.