- What is the CT scan?
- When is the CT scan done?
- What preparation is needed for the CT scan?
- How is the CT scan performed?
- How are CT scan results interpreted?
It is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging test, which uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal and vertical slices (images) of the body. The CT scan can produce detailed images of any part of the body, including bones, muscles and fat. Due to higher resonance, CT scan images offer the potential of much more accurate diagnosis compared to classical X-rays. In some cases, there may be a need to administer some contrast medium -either intravenously or orally (per os).
Your Urologist may recommend a CT scan in the following cases:
- In renal diseases (tumors, lithiasis, trauma etc)
- In diseases of the ureters, bladder and pelvis (malignancies, lithiasis etc)
- In the diagnosis of metastatic cancer of the urinary tract or genitalia.
- In monitoring patients who have undergone cancer therapy, so as to timely diagnose any occurring relapse.
In investigating symptoms of the urinary tract, such as macroscopic hematuria.
There is usually need for some special preparation. Since it is likely that a contrast medium will be given, you should inform your physician about the following:
- If you have any allergy or sensitivity to specific medication, contrast medium or iodine. If so, you will be given the appropriate regimen, in order to undergo the CT scan with safety.
- If you suffer from renal failure, the contrast medium may exacerbate it. You may have to undergo a blood examination to evaluate renal function.
- If you take drugs for diabetes mellitus and mainly metformine (Glucophage), you may be asked to discontinue it for 24 hours before the CT scan.
- CT scan involves some low degree of radiation. In case of pregnancy, you should always inform your physician before having a CT scan.
You may need to have a CT scan either as an outpatient or as a hospital inpatient. Your physician will explain to you the procedure and answer any questions you may have related to the CT scan. The procedure is as follows:
- You will be asked to take off your clothes, jewellery, belts or other accessories from the region of your body that is to be scanned.
- A venocatheter will be placed in your arm.
- You will be asked to lie on your back on a special radiological table, which will transfer the target region to a circular apparatus.
- During CT image acquisitions, the examination table moves along the anteroposterior axis.
- When asked, you should remain still. Some seconds later, you will be informed about the completion of the examination.
- In case you are given contrast medium intravenously, you may instantly feel some hot flash, metallic taste in your mouth, headache, pruritus, nausea and/or tendency to vomiting. However, these reactions usually subside within a few minutes.
- The CT scan procedure causes no pain at all.
- Once the examination is completed, you can get dressed and leave the laboratory.
Following the CT scan, you can resume to your everyday activities without any restriction at all.
If there is any pathological finding, your physician will inform you about this. You will be given additional instructions and information about the therapeutic options that are available for you. Should there be any doubt, s/he will recommend you to undergo more specific screening (MRI, Cystoscopy etc).