Why would I need a CT scan?
A CT scan is a valuable tool if your doctor has determined that he needs a better look inside your sinuses. This may be because you have chronic sinus problems, persistent headaches, impaired breathing or a history of frequent sinus infections. CT scans are helpful tools for studying internal organs. Typically they are used to examine the head, sinuses, lungs, abdomen and pelvis, but they can also detect vascular problems, measure bone density and study the heart. The results of your CT scan will help the doctor decide if further procedures are necessary. And if it points to a diagnosis, the scan can help the doctor determine the best way to treat your condition.
What does a CT scan show?
In a CT scan image (which looks similar to an x-ray), bone appears white, air appears black, and any soft tissue, fluid or muscle appears in varying shades of grey. A CT scan of your sinuses will show whether you have a sinus infection. Sinusitis appears in the image as a thickening of the lining of the sinus cavities. A CT scan of your sinuses will also show:
• Any obstruction of your breathing passages
• A deviated septum
• Tiny fractures in nasal and sinus bones
• Growths such as polyps, tumors, etc.
A CT scan also serves as a "road map" of your sinuses that the doctor can follow if you require sinus surgery.
How does CT scanning work?
Also called Computed Tomography, CT scanners combine traditional x-ray technology with a computer that analyzes images. As you pass through the machine, an x-ray rotates 360 degrees to capture images of your body in slices. These cross-sections are what make CT scans so effective. When a doctor looks at a CT image, he or she can see each of the organs clearly, without any "overlap" from other organs.
Why should I have a CT scan instead of an x-ray?
Because x-rays show dense bone structures only, and not soft tissue.
What does a CT scan feel like?
The CT scanner is a large machine with a circular opening and a table that runs through it. During your exam, you will lie on this table as it moves through the opening. The exam is totally painless. You will need to stay very still and hold your breath at times, while the machine captures images. Our scanner is extremely fast, so the exam may take as little as 2 minutes. A certified CT Technologist will perform the test. Feel free to ask the technologist any questions about the exam.
Are there any risks involved?
Like x-rays, CT scans expose you to radiation. Pregnant women or those who might be pregnant should inform their doctor before receiving a CT scan. If your doctor has told you that he wants to do a CT scan "with contrast," this means that you will be given an agent such as iodine dye that is used to highlight specific areas within the scan. Make sure to tell you doctor in advance if you have any allergies, especially to iodine or shellfish.
Will my insurance cover a CT scan?
Most insurance plans will cover all or a percentage of the cost of scans ordered by your doctor. Typically, insurance plans will not cover the costs for screening exams, such as a full body scan. Contact your insurance company directly for more information. One of the insurance experts at our office may also be able to give you more details about what your plan would cover.
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