When most people get hurt, injured, or become sick, they go to the doctor to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. While the doctor might know what’s going on once they see you, they will often need help in order to get a better look at what might be causing your symptoms.
Doctors often use all sorts of different tests to check different things that can be affecting you. These tests include things such as bloodwork, MRIs, and X-rays. Many of these tools use diagnostic imaging to help doctors look inside the affected area of your body. Of course, there are many different types of diagnostic imaging exams, but one of the more common and effective diagnostic imaging tests are CT scans.
CT scans use X-rays beams to provide doctors with images of inside the patient’s body. The patient lays down while an arc sends thousands of X-ray beams through the body, collecting them on the other end of the arc in order to compare the strength between the beams. By doing this, the doctor can gather a very imaged detail of inside the body.
Many people have heard of CT scans, but not everyone has gotten one and not everyone knows why someone might need to get one. So, if you’ve ever wondered, “Do I need a CT scan?” and didn’t know the answer, here are 10 reasons you might need one:
1. You cannot undergo an MRI for some reason.
While there are many, many reasons for why someone might not be able to undergo an MRI, this is often one of the reasons for why people need CT scans. CT scans are much less sensitive to movement than MRIs, so if you have an injury that doctor’s need to look at that prevent you from laying still or comfortably for 30-60 minutes, it might be better to get a CT scan. This can also be true if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, as that prohibits you from undergoing an MRI.
2. You need to have your blood vessels examined for some reason.
Whether it is to check for a blockage or some other issue, CT scans allow doctors the ability to examine your blood vessels without needing to perform exploratory surgery or a surgical biopsy. This can play a major role for people who might be needing the diagnosis or treatment of things such as vascular diseases.
3. You need to examine a part of the body with very small bone components.
Since CT scans can image bones in a very clear manner, CT scans prove to be extremely valuable to doctors who are examining patients for bone injuries in places like their hands and their feet, as well as in their spinal region. These areas might not be as visible with diagnostic imaging methods like X-rays.
4. You need to examine whether your injury involves soft tissue damage.
Unlike methods such as traditional X-rays, CT scans can provide very clear images of the soft tissue around skeletal structures in your body while also providing images of the bones. So, in the case that someone is suffering from soft tissue damage to a bone, the doctor can accurately diagnose the injury and provide the patient with a better recovery plan.
5. You have a tumor that doctors are performing surgery on.
CT scans are often utilized to help guide surgeons as they perform things like biopsies. Because it allows the doctor to confirm the presence of a tumor while detailing and measuring its size and exact location, CT scans are very useful in helping surgeons. CT scans can also help doctors determine to what extent the tumor has become involved with surrounding tissue.
6. You're undergoing some form of cancer treatment.
CT scans help doctors plan and administer radiation treatments for patients with cancerous tumors since they provide such accurate detail in the images, especially when imaging soft tissue. CT scans also help doctors monitor the patient’s response to chemotherapy since it can help measure whether cancer has spread and how much it has.
7. You need to examine your bones to check for various skeletal diseases.
In addition to providing doctors images of soft tissue, organs, and bone injuries, CT scans also help doctors with the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis as well as other similar diseases. CT scans are incredibly useful in diagnosis osteoporosis as they can measure the bone mineral density of patients.
8. You need to have your brain examined.
Of course, there are many reasons as to why doctors might need to examine the internal situation of a patient’s head area, but CT scans help doctors by providing them with detailed images of the brain. So, whether it be due force-related trauma or tissue-related diseases, doctors can use CT scans to help them diagnose and treat issues in the brain.
9. You were just injured in a severe accident of some sort.
Doctors are able to determine internal injuries quickly and effectively in emergency situations using CT scans. Since they are extremely quick and highly effective, CT scans can help doctors find internal injuries, like internal bleeding, and sometimes the quickness is needed in order to help the patient in time to save their life. So, patients who are hurt after something like a car accident might need a CT scan to find and treat internal injuries quickly.
At the end of the day, there are endless reasons why you might need a CT scan. However, knowing some situations that typically require a CT scan can help someone understand when doctors might need to use CT scans to examine patients and their injuries. Since CT scans can give doctors clear images of bones, soft tissues, muscles, organs, large blood vessels, the brains, and nerves, CT scans can prove to be very useful in many situations. Of course, if you need a CT scan then the doctor will likely tell you. If you think you might need one for some reason, set up an appointment with your physician in a timely manner to discuss why you need one and whether you should.