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.
"I recently experienced a pinched nerve that severely affected my ability to use my right hand. I contacted Dr. Carll who immediately went to work on my behalf. Knowing that this was a time sensitive situation Dr. Carll went out of his way to ensure that I received the appropriate MRIs, CAT scans, and nerve studies to properly diagnose my situation. After reviewing all the test Dr. Carll exhibited true professionalism and integrity by referring me out to Dr. Patty Young (I am so thankful for your referral) who specialized in the surgery that I would need. Dr. Carll could’ve chosen to operate because I had several degenerative disc, however he chose ethics over profit. Dr. Carll is a true professional that will put your health over profit! When it comes to your health there’s nothing more important than having a doctor that you can trust to be professional and ethical. Thank you Dr. Carll for providing me with both!"- K.H. / Google / Aug 29, 2018
"Dr. Carll is THE BEST!!! I had to have an A-lift spinal fusion and never before have I seen such a caring doctor and staff. They held my hand through my fears were actually there for me and more throughout the process. I don't believe there is a more caring, more compassionate doctor than Dr. Carll. Thanks to him and his amazing abilities I can feel my right leg again and now live without pain. I will forever be grateful to this office and Dr. Carll for being there for me as a person and as a patient.-Nicole Baucum"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 17, 2019
"Excellent care - Very compassionate doctor! Truly cares about your pain and issues."- Anonymous / Vitals / Feb 12, 2019
"Excellent Care!! - I had put off my 360 Spinal Fusion for over a decade, relying on epidurals to deal with the pain. After doing two years of thorough research, I chose Dr. Kendall Carll at the Spine Care of North Texas. Being that I’m in the medical industry, I did ask around, too.From the initial consultation, all staff involved were very supportive and explained all aspects of the procedure; including what I could expect during and after the procedure. Because I never really experienced “excruciating” pain, I stopped taking all pain meds three days after the procedure. I was up and walking the day of the procedure and followed all directives. I was up several times a day walking and learning how to use steps; since I my place is two levels.The staff did a great job setting up my home health care; which included a nurse and a physical therapist. They, too, did an outstanding job. A large part of my job involves air travel. I felt so “good” I reached out to see if I was ok to travel. I followed all restrictions, primarily lifting, and was able to take a two-hour flight. This is amazing considering it was only 23 days post-surgery.If you’re like me and will use insurance, be sure to do the match; to make sure your rehab will be completed by the end of the year.“I am 100% satisfied with my experience with Spine Care of North Texas. Every single person on staff was terrific, and the system worked flawlessly. I now refer all my friends and family to them."- Anonymous / Vitals / Feb 04, 2019
"From the initial consultation, all staff involved were very supportive and explained all aspects of the procedure; including what I could expect during and after the procedure. Because I never really experienced “excruciating” pain, I stopped taking all pain meds three days after the procedure. I was up and walking the day of the procedure and followed all directives. I was up several times a day walking and learning how to use steps; since I my place is two levels. They are the best!!!"- E.E. / Healthgrades / Feb 04, 2019
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.