CT imaging or CAT scan is a special test which utilizes x-rays to penetrate tissues and bones to produce images used for diagnosis or treatment planning. This differs from standard radiography (“x-rays”) by using special computerized equipment that ultimately displays continuous slices of a particular bone or joint. It provides exceptional detail of bone, and to a lesser degree the soft tissues including muscles, vessels, fat and nerves.
This detail can then be used to diagnose certain bone and soft tissue conditions, help doctors do careful pre-surgical and pretreatment planning, and help follow the success of the treatment.
CT imaging is typically performed with the patient lying on their back on a special table which is then advanced into a large, round, bore within the CT scanner. Once the body part is centered in the scanner, it takes 10 to 20 seconds to acquire the images. The rest of the time is spent processing these images by our highly trained technologists.
Our department provides the newest in CT technology which is available in multiple locations. We offer cutting edge advanced techniques including 3D reconstruction which allows the images to be rotated in order to obtain a more comprehensive view of the condition.
Other newer techniques include CT Arthrography in which CT imaging is performed after the joint is injected with an iodinated contrast agent.
CT Arthrography requires more special technique performed by our highly trained musculoskeletal radiologists. It involves sterile cleansing of the skin, anesthetic infiltration of the tissues, and placement of a needle gently into the joint. A sterile iodinated contrast agent will then be injected into the joint.
Once injected, the patient will be moved to the CT scanning room and images will be acquired similar to routine CT imaging.
These special images provide additional detail of the joint anatomy and pathology normally not seen with routine CT imaging.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) provide descriptions of various procedures relating to the Musculoskeletal (MSK) System on their jointly developed site, RadiologyInfo.org .