Computerized Axial Tomography Information
(CAT Scan/CT Scan)
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What is a CT scan?
A computerized axial tomography scan is more commonly known by
its abbreviated name, CT scan or CAT scan. It is an x-ray procedure which
combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate
cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal
organs and structures of the body. A CT scan is used to define normal and
abnormal structures in the body and/or assist in procedures by helping to
accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments. A large
donut-shaped x-ray machine takes x-ray images at many different angles around
the body. These images are processed by a computer to produce cross-sectional
pictures of the body. In each of these pictures the body is seen as an x-ray
"slice" of the body, which is recorded on a film. This recorded image is called
a tomogram. "Computerized Axial Tomography" refers to the recorded tomogram
"sections" at different levels of the body.
Imagine the body as a loaf of bread and you are looking at one
end of the loaf. As you remove each slice of bread, you can see the entire
surface of that slice from the crust to the center. The body is seen on CT scan
slices in a similar fashion from the skin to the central part of the body being
examined. When these levels are further "added" together, a three-dimensional
picture of an organ or abnormal body structure can be obtained.
Why are CT scans performed?
CT scans are performed to analyze the internal structures of
various parts of the body. This includes the head, where traumatic injuries,
(such as blood clots or skull fractures), tumors, and infections can be
identified. In the spine, the bony structure of the vertebrae can be accurately
defined, as can the anatomy of the intervertebral discs and spinal cord. In
fact, CT scan methods can be used to accurately measure the density of bone in
Occasionally, contrast material (an x-ray dye) is placed into
the spinal fluid to further enhance the scan and the various structural
relationships of the spine, the spinal cord, and its nerves. CT scans are also
used in the chest to identify tumors, cysts, or infections that may be suspected
on a chest x-ray. CT scans of the abdomen are extremely helpful in defining body
organ anatomy, including visualizing the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen,
aorta, kidneys, uterus, and ovaries. CT scans in this area are used to verify
the presence or absence of tumors, infection, abnormal anatomy, or changes of
the body from trauma.
The technique is painless and can provide extremely accurate
images of body structures in addition to guiding the radiologist in performing
certain procedures, such as biopsies of suspected cancers, removal of internal
body fluids for various tests, and the draining of abscesses which are deep in
the body. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive and have markedly
decreased the need to perform surgery to accomplish the same goal.
Are there risks in obtaining a CT scan?
A CT scan is a very low-risk procedure. The most common problem
is an adverse reaction to intravenous contrast material. Intravenous contrast is
usually an iodine-based liquid given in the vein, which makes many organs and
structures, such as the kidneys and blood vessels much more visible on the CT
scan. There may be resulting itching, a rash, hives, or a feeling of warmth
throughout the body. These are usually self-limiting reactions and go away
rather quickly. If needed, antihistamines can be given to help relieve the
symptoms. A more serious reaction to intravenous contrast is called an
anaphylactic reaction. When this occurs, the patient may experience severe hives
and/or extreme difficulty in breathing. This reaction is quite rare, but is
potentially life-threatening if not treated. Medications which may include
corticosteroids, antihistamines, and epinephrine reverse this adverse reaction.
Toxicity to the kidneys which can result in kidney failure is
an extremely rare complication of the intravenous contrast used in CT scans.
Diabetics, dehydrated individuals, or patients who already have impaired kidney
function are most prone to this reaction. Newer intravenous contrast agents have
been developed, such as Isovue, which have nearly eliminated this complication.
The amount of radiation a person receives during a CT scan is
minimal. In men and non-pregnant women, it has not been shown to produce any
adverse effects. If a woman is pregnant, there may be a potential risk to the
fetus, especially in the first trimester of the pregnancy. If a woman is
pregnant, she should inform her doctor of her condition and discuss other
potential methods of testing, such as an ultrasound, which are not harmful to
How does a patient prepare for CT
scanning, and how is it performed?
In preparation for a CT scan, patients are often asked to avoid food,
especially when contrast material is to be used. Contrast material may be
injected intravenously, or administered by mouth or by an enema in order to
increase the distinction between various organs or areas of the body.
Therefore, fluids and food may be restricted for several hours prior to the
examination. If the patient has a history of allergy to contrast material
(such as iodine), the requesting physician and radiology staff should be
notified. All metallic materials and certain clothing around the body are
removed because they can interfere with the clarity of the images.
Patients are placed on a movable table, and the table is
slipped into the center of a large donut-shaped machine which takes the
x-ray images around the body. The actual procedure can take from a half an
hour to an hour and a half. If specific tests, biopsies, or intervention are
performed by the radiologist during CT scanning, additional time and
monitoring may be required. It is important during the CT scan procedure
that the patient minimize any body movement by remaining as still and quiet
as is possible. This significantly increases the clarity of the x-ray
images. The CT scan technologist tells the patient when to breathe or hold
his/her breath during scans of the chest and abdomen. If any problems are
experienced during the CT scan, the technologist should be informed
immediately. The technologist directly watches the patient through an
observation window during the procedure and there is an intercom system in
the room for added patient safety.
CT scans have vastly improved the ability of doctors to
diagnose many diseases earlier in their course and with much less risk than
previous methods. Further refinements in CT scan technology continue to
evolve which promise even better picture quality and patient safety. Newer
CT scans called "spiral" or "helical" CT scans can provide more rapid and
accurate visualization of internal organs. For example, many trauma centers
are using these scans to more rapidly diagnose internal injuries after
serious body trauma.
- CT scanning adds x-ray images with the aid of a
computer to generate cross-sectional views of anatomy.
- CT scanning can identify normal and abnormal
structures and be used to guide procedures.
- CT scanning is painless.
- Iodine-containing contrast material is sometimes used
in CT scanning. Patients with a history of allergy to iodine or contrast
materials should notify their physicians and radiology staff.
Above information found on the following website 08-16-08
CAT Scan Glossary of Terms
Abdomen: The belly , that part of
the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis .
The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm , the
powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
Aorta: The largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left
ventricle of the heart, goes up (ascends) a little ways, bends over (arches),
then goes down (descends) through the chest and through the abdomen to where
ends by dividing into two arteries called the common iliac arteries that go to
Bone: Bone is the substance that forms the skeleton of the body. It is
composed chiefly of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate . It also serves as
a storage area for calcium, playing a large role in calcium balance in the
CAT scan : Pictures of structures within the body created by a computer
that takes the data from multiple X-ray images and turns them in pictures on a
screen. The CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan can reveal some soft-tissue
and other structures that cannot even be seen in conventional X-rays. Using the
same dosage of radiation as that of an ordinary X-ray machine, an entire slice
of the body can be made visible with about 100 times more clarity with the CAT
Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen .
The chest contains the lungs , the heart and part of the aorta . The walls of
the chest are supported by the dorsal vertebrae , the ribs , and the sternum.
Computerized axial tomography scan: Pictures of structures within the
body created by a computer that takes the data from multiple X-ray images and
turns them in pictures. The CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan can reveal
some soft-tissue and other structures that cannot be seen in conventional
X-rays. Using the same dosage of radiation as that of an ordinary X-ray machine,
an entire slice of the body can be made visible with about 100 times more
clarity with the CAT scan.
Contrast: Short for "contrast
media." Contrast media are x-ray dyes used to provide contrast, for example,
between blood vessels and other tissue.
CT scan: Computerized tomography scan. Pictures of structures within the
body created by a computer that takes the data from multiple X-ray images and
turns them into pictures on a screen. CT stands for computerized tomography.
Gallbladder: A pear-shaped organ just below the liver that stores the
bile secreted by the liver. During a fatty meal, the gallbladder contracts,
delivering the bile through the bile ducts into the intestines to help with
digestion. Abnormal composition of bile leads to formation of gallstones.
Iodine: An essential element in the diet used by the thyroid gland to
make thyroid hormones.
Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the
abdomen which clear "poisons" from the blood, regulate acid concentration and
maintain water balance in the body by excreting urine. The kidneys are part of
the urinary tract. The urine then passes through connecting tubes called
"ureters" into the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it is released
Liver: An organ in the upper abdomen that aids in digestion and removes
waste products and worn-out cells from the blood. The liver is the largest solid
organ in the body. The liver weighs about three and a half pounds (1.6
kilograms). It measures about 8 inches (20 cm) horizontally (across) and 6.5
inches (17 cm) vertically (down) and is 4.5 inches (12 cm) thick.
Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or
more special functions. The organs of the human body include the eye, ear,
heart, lungs and liver.
Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones with reduction in bone mass due to
depletion of calcium and bone protein . Osteoporosis predisposes a person to
fractures, which are often slow to heal and heal poorly. It is more common in
older adults, particularly post-menopausal women; in patients on steroids; and
in those who take steroidal drugs. Unchecked osteoporosis can lead to changes in
posture , physical abnormality (particularly the form of hunched back known
colloquially as " dowager's hump "), and decreased mobility.
Pancreas: A fish-shaped spongy grayish-pink organ about 6 inches (15 cm)
long that stretches across the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach. The head
of the pancreas is on the right side of the abdomen and is connected to the
duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). The narrow end of the
pancreas, called the tail, extends to the left side of the body.
Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and x-ray are two of the
types of energy waves often used in medicine. 2. The use of energy waves
to diagnose or treat disease.
Radiologist: A physician specialized in radiology , the branch of
medicine that uses ionizing and nonionizing radiation for the diagnosis and
treatment of disease.
Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of
organs or regions of the body by gathering information with a sensing device.
Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the
brain and lies within the vertebral canal and from which the spinal nerves
emerge. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves originate in the spinal cord: 8
cervical , 12 thoracic , 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 1 coccygeal. The spinal cord
and the brain constitute the central nervous system ( CNS ). The spinal cord
consists of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain. Like the
brain, the spinal cord is covered by three connective-tissue envelopes called
the meninges . The space between the outer and middle envelopes is filled with
cerebrospinal fluid ( CSF ), a clear colorless fluid that cushions the spinal
cord against jarring shock. Also known simply as the cord.
Spine: 1) The column of bone known as the vertebral column, which
surrounds and protects the spinal cord. The spine can be categorized according
to level of the body: i.e., cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (upper and
middle back), and lumbar spine (lower back). See also vertebral column. 2) Any
short prominence of bone. The spines of the vertebrae protrude at the base of
the back of the neck and in the middle of the back. These spines protect the
spinal cord from injury from behind.
Spleen: An organ located in the upper left part of the abdomen near the
stomach . The spleen produces lymphocytes ; it is the largest lymphatic organ in
the body. The spleen also filters the blood, serves as a major reservoir for
blood and destroys blood cells that are aged.
Tomogram: A radiograph (x-ray) of a selected layer of the body made by
tomography. A tomogram is a two-dimensional image representing a slice or
section through a three-dimensional object. The term tomogram may be made more
specific, as in nephrotomogram (tomogram of the kidney)
process for generating a tomogram , a two-dimensional image of a slice or
section through a three-dimensional object. Tomography achieves this remarkable
result by simply moving an x-ray source in one direction as the x-ray film is
moved in the opposite direction during the exposure to sharpen structures in the
focal plane, while structures in other planes appear blurred. The tomogram is
the picture; the tomograph is the apparatus; and tomography is the process.
State CT Scan Price List
Thousands of locations available.
costs by state are listed below.
Prices may change without notice.
Prices vary by location and facility.
New facilities added daily.
Prices are all inclusive.
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Alabama CT Scans starting at $270
Scans starting at $300
Arkansas CT Scans starting at $250
California CT Scans starting at $190
Colorado CT Scans starting at $350
Connecticut CT Scans $545
Delaware CT Scans starting at $420
District of Columbia CT Scans at $360
Scans starting at $190
Georgia CT Scans starting at $270
Illinois CT Scans starting at $270
Indiana CT Scans starting at $270
Scans starting at $645
Kansas CT Scans starting at $445
Kentucky CT Scans starting at $300
Louisiana CT Scans starting at $470
Maryland CT Scan $270
Massachusetts CT Scans starting at $360
Michigan CT Scans starting at $300
Minnesota CT Scans starting at $570
Mississippi CT Scans starting $440
Missouri CT Scans starting at $415
Montana CT Scans starting at $535
Nebraska CT Scans starting at $300
Nevada CT Scans starting at $270
New Jersey CT Scans starting at $270
New Mexico CT Scans starting at $470
New York CT Scans starting at $190
North Carolina CT Scans starting at $460
Scans starting at $270
Oklahoma CT Scans starting at $420
Oregon CT Scans starting at $470
Pennsylvania CT Scans starting at $295
Rhode Island CT Scans starting at $420
South Carolina CT Scans starting at $270
Tennessee CT Scans starting at $270
Scans starting at $270
Utah CT Scans
Virginia CT Scans starting at $350
Washington CT Scans starting at $270
Wisconsin CT Scans starting at $480
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