CT scanning, often called a CAT scan, uses a computerized X-ray machine in order to study body parts. CT differs from routine X-rays in that X-rays produce a two dimensional image in shades of gray while CT visualizes the inside of the body. You can see bone, tissues and organs simultaneously.
Geisinger’s Toshiba Aquilion 64 CFX scanner is so fast it can synchronize with the patient’s heart rhythm and capture images between beats.
CT imaging is always done with the patient lying on a table. Frequently, a contrast material is administered, either as a liquid to drink, an IV fluid through a vein, or both. As with any contrast material, it is important that the technologist is aware of any allergies that you may have, so you will be asked to complete a questionnaire each time you have a CT scan. Although filling out the questionnaire may seem repetitive, it is important that the radiologist has all pertinent information when interpreting your study.
If you are asked to drink something, it will be a barium mixture and you will have to drink it at timed intervals before the exam is started. It is important that you drink as instructed for the best imaging. If you did not complete the drink, tell the technologist as soon as you are taken for the exam. If you are having a contrast injected, this will occur at some point during the exam. The entire exam should not take more than one hour to complete, unless you are having several different areas imaged at one time, such as your chest and abdomen.
CT imaging systems
Geisinger Health System offers state-of-the-art 16, 32 and 64-slice scanners at various locations. These scanners provide greater detail in much shorter scan time, allowing for greater comfort for the patient.
If a patient has suffered trauma or a tumor, blood clot, bone displacement, or a questionable gathering of fluid is suspected, the new CT scanners allow doctors to simultaneously capture multiple images of a patient's anatomy in a matter of minutes. Trauma patients will benefit from the new CT scanners as they:
- Reduce the scan time by as much as several minutes
- Allow emergency physicians to begin treating patients more quickly
- Assist physicians in the diagnosis of internal injuries in a variety of anatomic areas, including spine, head, abdomen and chest.
The new scanners with 3-D imaging will:
- Provide finer details of cancer staging
- Improve soft tissue scans
- Improve diagnostics of inner ear, spine, chest and lung
- Provide better pre-surgical planning
- Full range of CT scan exams including protocols for urinary tract stones and appendicitis
- Full range of CT angiography including: cerebral, carotid, renal, pulmonary, visceral, TIPS and stent follow-up
- 3-D, multi-planar and volume rendering reconstructions for fractures, myelography, spine and bone work
- Dimensional reconstructions