2010 Hospital of the Year
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CT (Computed Tomography)

128 Slice CT Scanner

The 128-Slice CT Scanner shortens exam times and provide superior images for a more accurate diagnosis. Only the third such system in Texas, our CT eliminates the need for beta blockers and is ideal for patients who have not previously been candidates for diagnostic imaging test. Our CT also accomodates individuals weighing up to 440 pounds.

CT Scanning, sometimes called a CAT Scan, is a noninvasive test that helps diagnose a wide array of medical conditions. It combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computer technology to produce pictures of the inside of the body. These cross-section images provide greater clarity than regular x-ray exams for intergnal organs, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels.

Common Uses of CT

  • One of the fastest tools for studying the chest, abdomen and pelvis because it provides detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of tissue
  • Often the preferred method for diagnosing many different cancers, including lung, liver and pancreatic cancer: a physician can confirm the presence of a tumor and measure its size, precise location and the extent of the tumor's involvement with nearby tissue
  • Plays a significant role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases that can lead to stroke, kidney failure or even death
  • Invaluable in diagnosing and treating spinal problems and injuries to the hands, feet and other skeletal structures because it can clearly show even very small bones as well as surrounding tissues such as muscle and blood vessels
  • Quickly identify injuries to the lungs, heart and vessels, liver, spleen, kidneys, bowel or other internal organs in cases of trauma
  • Guide biopsies and other procedures such as abscess drainages and minimally invasive tumor treatments
  • Plan for and assess the results of surgery
  • Stage, plan and properly administer radiation treatments for tumors as well as monitor response to chemotherapy

Patient Instructions for CT

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure. Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the scan, especially if a contrast material will be used in your exam.

You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies. If you have a known allergy to contrast material, or "dye," your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

What to Expect

The CT scanner is typically a large, box like machine with a hole, or short tunnel, in the center. You will lie on a narrow examination table that slides into and out of this tunnel. Rotating around you, the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring, called a gantry. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate room, where the technologist operates the scanner and monitors your examination.

With CT scanning, a special computer program processes this large volume of data to create two-dimensional cross-sectional images of your body, which are then displayed on a monitor. CT imaging is sometimes compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices. When the image slices are reassembled by computer software, the result is a very detailed multidimensional view of the body's interior.

The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT examination table, usually lying flat on your back or possibly on your side or on your stomach. Straps and pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position and to hold still during the exam. You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, however the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times. Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. You may be asked to hold your breath during the scanning because motion, whether breathing or body movements, can lead to blurring of the images. This is similar to the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object. CT exams are generally painless, easy and fast - usually completed within 30 minutes.

One of our board-certified radiologists will analyze the images and send a report to your referring physician, who will discuss the results with you.