Technological developments have been a driving force in healthcare progress, especially in recent decades. For instance, computed tomography (CT) scanners use computer-processed X-rays to produce image “slices” of specific areas of the body that show anatomy and disease processes in exquisite detail. This technology helps physicians make quick diagnoses of a range of acute and chronic illnesses.
Radiologists individually tailor CT scans for specific clinical issues and to limit radiation exposure for the patient. Low-dose CT scans further reduce the patient’s risk of effects from radiation exposure–without sacrificing clinical image quality.
North Shore-LIJ Imaging employs dose-monitoring software to gather data about radiation exposure continuously and in real time. A team of radiologists, imaging technologists and medical physicists reviews this information to identify trends and make recommendations that further enhance the effectiveness of low-dose CT scans while increasing patient safety.
What Low-Dose CT Scans Are Like for Patients
Unless they are take place during a patients’ hospital care, low-dose CT scans are available as outpatient procedure. Generally, the process is something like this:
- The patient removes any clothing, jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the scan.
- If the scans are done “with contrast,” a healthcare professional will place an intravenous (IV) line in the hand or arm to allow injection of the contrast medication. The patient gets medication to swallow for “oral contrast.”
- The patient lies on the scan table, which slides into a large, circular opening of the scanning unit.
- In an adjoining room the CT technologist operates the scanner controls–always remaining visible to the patient through a window. The patient and technologist communicate through speakers inside the scanner.
- The patient stays very still during the procedure while the CT technologist constantly watches and communicates with the patient.
- As the scan begins, X-rays pass through the patient for short amounts of time. The scanner detects X-rays that are absorbed by the body’s tissues and transmits this information to a computer.
- The computer translates this information into an image for interpretation by the radiologist.
Where you go for your CT matters. North Shore-LIJ Imaging’s radiologists are experts in interpreting scans, and our 20-plus locations offer the latest in low-dose CT technology. Call 1-855-377-3456 to learn more.