Table of Contents
Computed Tomography / CT SCAN
What Is Computed Tomography?
Computed Tomography scans (also known as CT or CAT scans) use special x-ray equipment to obtain information from different angles around the body. Computers are then used to process the information and create cross-sectional images that appear as “slices” of the body and organs. X-Ray Associates has a state-of-the-art Phillips 64 slice multi-detector CT scanner and a GE Discovery LS multi-slice CT scanner. These multi-detector scanners rapidly acquire high-resolution images decreasing patients’ scan time.
What Should I Expect?
During the exam you will lie on a table that will move you into the doughnut-shaped scanner. Your technologist will watch you through an observation window and will be able to communicate with you at all times. You may hear humming, buzzing, or clicking sounds as the CT machine moves to reposition you for additional images. CT scans are painless, but some exams require injection of a contrast agent. Remaining still is very important in order to obtain clear images. When scanning is complete, the technologist will return to help you from the table. You may eat normal meals unless other tests are scheduled. To help eliminate contrast agents from the body, it is best to drink plenty of fluids following the exam. Your exam will take about 30 minutes, after which you will be able to return to your normal activities.
How Should I Prepare?
Before some exams, you may be asked to avoid normal eating or drinking for a period of time. You should continue medications prescribed by your doctor unless informed otherwise. Diabetic patients may need to delay their medication until after they have eaten in order to avoid an insulin reaction. You may be asked to wear a gown and may have to remove items such as glasses, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, etc. Women should always inform their technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.
What if I Need a Contrast Injection?
CT contrast is an organically bound iodine material that is used to make some abnormalities easier to see. X-Ray Associates of New Mexico uses only non-ionic contrast (the safest kind), but with all contrast agents there is some potential for allergic reaction. Be sure to tell your technologist if you’ve had a reaction to contrast in the past or if you are particularly sensitive to medications. If you take Glucophage, Glucovance or Metformin medication to regulate your diabetes, you will need to stop taking the medication the day of and 48 hours after your exam.
How Do I Get The Results?
After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified Radiologists with expertise in CT Imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor, who can then discuss the results with you in detail.
CT Scans for children
Children are active and injuries are common so a visit to a radiology office is to be expected, our doctors are trained in pediatric radiology and we have children’s specialists on staff.
Before your child’s CT scan make sure to notify the radiologist of any allergies they may have to contrast materials like iodine.
It’s natural to be concerned about radiations levels to young children. Since CT scans do require exposure to radiation we do our best to minimize this level of exposure. There are alternatives like MRI or ultrasound which can provide a similar diagnosis. However in cases where CT is required will we make sure not to expose your child to multiple tests unless necessary.
CT Scan Service Locations
Computed Tomography Scans are available at our locations throughout New Mexico, Alamogordo Imaging Center, El Camino Imaging Center, Northwest Imaging Center, X-Ray Associates at Farmington, and X-Ray Associates at Santa Fe.
What is PET/CT?
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease states in the body. A PET scan provides physiologic information about the body, while the CT scan provides anatomic information about the body. By combining PET with CT, the radiologist can not only identify regions of abnormal function but also accurately localize those regions. Your physician will order a PET to diagnose and create a treatment plan that is appropriate for your needs.
PET images contain information about tissue function. PET uses a radioactive isotope that absorbs into tissue. Although all normal cells in the body use glucose, certain diseased cells, like cancer cells, utilize more glucose. The PET/CT visualizes these highly metabolic diseased cells.
PET HELPS DIAGNOSE
- Distinguish benign from malignant tumors
- Stage cancer by showing if it has spread (metastasized) in the body
- More sensitized detection of recurrent tumors than CT
- Assess benefits of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy on tumor size and growth
- Cancers for which PET can be particularly helpful include (but are not limited to):
- Non Small Cell Lung
- Single Pulmonary Nodule
- Head and Neck
- Small Cell Lung
- Accurately provide early diagnoses for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Locate the focus of seizures for some patients with epilepsy
- Evaluate extent of stroke and recovery following therapy
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
- A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is given by an IV injection
- You will wait approximately one hour, while the medicine is distributed throughout your body
- You will then be asked to lie on a table that passes through the PET/CT scanner
- Scan time is approximately 30 minutes
- Low risk procedure
- The computer then fuses the images acquired from both devices
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?
- Nothing to eat or drink 6 hours prior to injection time, except for water and medications
- Well hydrated
- No candy, mints, cough syrups, lozenges, Gatorade, alcohol or gum 24 hours prior to injection time (nothing that contains sugar or sugar substitutes)
- No exercise the day of the exam
- Last meal should be high in protein, low in carbohydrates
- Bring a driver (if needed for claustrophobic patients)
HOW DO I GET THE RESULTS?
After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified Radiologists with expertise in PET/CT Imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor, who can then discuss the results with you in detail. Should you have any questions regarding your exam, we will be happy to discuss them with you.