CT Scan (Diagnostic Imaging) – North Texas*

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What is a CT Scan?

Also known as a CAT scan, a CT scan (CT) is a computed tomography scan that permits medical professionals to see inside of your body. Using a combination of x-ray technology and a computer, a CT creates images of your organs, bones, and other tissues. CTs show more detail than regular x-rays, making them a more comprehensive diagnostic tool. Board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeon Dr. Kendall Carll of Spine Care of North Texas has been diagnosing and treating spine conditions for the last 15 years. The successful treatment of his patients’ back pain hinges on an accurate diagnosis. CTs allow Dr. Carll a detailed insight into your condition so that a thorough treatment plan can be created.

CT Scans with Contrast

CTs make it very easy for dense substances, like bone, to be clearly seen. But soft tissues in the body do not always show up as well on the scans. They may look faint in the image. These situations may call for the use of a special dye called a contrast material. These dyes appear white on the scan, showing blood vessels, organs, or other tissues more easily. Contrast materials are typically made of barium sulfate or iodine and are distributed via injection, orally, or by enema. If contrast is used to obtain your CT, you will need to drink plenty of fluids following the scan, in order to help flush the dye from your body in an efficient manner.

Best Candidates

Dr. Carll recommends CTs to patients of all ages with varying conditions for the following reasons:

  • To detect bone and joint problems, such as complex bone fractures or tumors
  • To track changes to conditions such as cancer and heart disease
  • To check for internal injuries or bleeding following a trauma
  • To locate a tumor, blood clot, fluid buildup, or infection
  • To create detailed treatment plans for spine surgery

Are They Safe?

CTs use x-ray technology, which produces ionizing radiation. Research has shown that this kind of radiation can damage your DNA and lead to cancer. However, the risk is small and is often overshadowed by the need for comprehensive diagnostic testing. The calculated chance of developing cancer as the result of your exposure to radiation (from an x-ray) is less than one in 2,000. In situations where Dr. Carll recommends a CT scan, you can be assured that he has weighed out the pros and cons and feels that a CT is safe in your situation. Dr. Carll will consider your medical history and current health before making this decision.

What to Expect

The scan will more than likely take place at a hospital or radiology clinic. You will be instructed not to eat or drink for a few hours before the procedure. Before the scan takes place, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any metal objects or jewelry. At this point, the radiologist or technologist will perform the CT scan. During the scan, you will lie very still on a table inside a large, circular CT machine. As the table slowly moves forward through the scanner, the x-ray machines will begin to rotate around your body. Patients typically comment that they hear clicking and whirring noises. This is normal and should not be cause for alarm.

Seek Answers Today

At Spine Care of North Texas, we are committed to helping you achieve relief from back pain with an accurate diagnosis and a customized treatment plan. By prioritizing your needs and ensuring the use of proven and modern techniques, Dr. Carll and our staff will help you put your back pain behind you for a long and happy life ahead. If you or a family member have been affected by back pain, we encourage you to contact our practice today. We look forward to helping you feel better, faster.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.