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What does the computed tomography mean?

The computed tomography scanner (CT) is a device which serves to display images, by using X-rays. These images are used in order to establish a diagnostic that will lead to an efficient treatment prescribed by your physician.

» See the list of computed tomography investigations

Unlike the conventional tomography, the images of the body are being processed, thus obtaining reconstructions in all the 3 backgrounds. The images obtained following the scanning of the body are viewed on a screen and reproduced on hard copy and on magnetic format.

Description of the investigation

No special preparations are needed for the computed tomography investigations, unless the investigations include the virtual colonoscopy and the coronary angiography, the details of the necessary preparations being made available to the secretary of the clinic.

In order to establish the evolution of a disease, it is appropriate and very helpful to show at the moment of the investigation all the medial records that you have (old computed tomography investigations, laboratory analysis, X-ray films, discharge summary, medical clearance showing your disease records). Furthermore, it is mandatory to indicate if you are pregnant, if you have allergic reactions or liver disease (chronic hepatitis with VHB,VHC, liver cirrhosis and its etiology), kidney or thyroid diseases.

Two types of procedures are also available in case of the tomography –unenhanced investigations (without contrast agent) and contrast-enhanced investigations. In order to obtain high quality examinations, you will be advised not to eat for about 4 hours before the examinations, and not to drink alcohol, soda or coffee.

In order for the abdomen and pelvis to be investigated it is necessary to drink a contrast agent dissolved in water (which is made available by the personnel of the clinic) before the actual investigation starts.

The preparation for the investigation is carried out before the examination in a room close to the computed tomography scanner. The contract agent is injected in the fold of the elbow by means of an automatic syringe. The contrast agents have the ability of being opaque to X-rays, due to their iodized state.

You should closely cooperate with the personnel of the clinic, especially when the computed tomography by blocked inspiration and exhalation is needed and not to change the position on the examination table during the scanning procedure and to report all the reactions, in the event they occur due to the administration of the contrast agent.

For the intravenous administration of the contrast agent, the intravenous puncture and insertion of a different caliber catheter in the vein lumen is necessary, depending on the type of the investigation. During the investigation, a certain volume with a certain flow of the contrast agent is administered by means of an automatic syringe. Due to the injection of high quantities of contrast agent and to the high injection speed, the sensations of heat, metallic taste and mild nausea can occur. You shall be informed about all these minor secondary effects at the beginning of the investigation. Any other effects that you perceive must be made aware to the personnel by means of the patient-personnel communication station that comes with the device.

It is normal to feel a sensation of heat throughout all your body during the injection. This sensation of heat is normal and it should disappear after a few minutes. The re-injection of the contrast agent during the computed tomography investigation or the repletion of the scanning is sometimes needed in order to catch the late images. In order for the computed tomography to be performed, you will be laid on a table that enters inside the tomography scanner.

Contraindications

If your answer to one of the questions below is positive, you should inform the radiologist in this respect when you come to the clinic, before the computed tomography investigation starts:

  • do you suffer from allergies that cause hives, eczema or asthma?
  • are you pregnant or likely to be or are you breastfeeding?
  • do you suffer from a chronic disease (hyperglycemia, renal failure, etc.)?
  • are you claustrophobic or do you have an anxious nature?

The renal failure, thyroid diseases (if the administration of SDC is necessary), pregnancy (diseases that endanger the mother’s life), pheochromocytoma are relative contraindications, where the risk/benefit ratio is assessed.

The advantages of the computed tomography:

  • Short scanning time, between 7 and 12 seconds – the primary intention of the traumatic pathology (the best possibility to view the bleeding and bone lesions).
  • In what concerns the standard investigation, the costs of the method are lower compared to the MRI investigation.

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