A computed tomography (CT) scan is used to detect diseases near the colon, small bowels, and other internal organs via diagnostic imaging. The scan is painless, noninvasive, and fast, often allowing doctors to diagnose causes of pain that may have been unexplained otherwise. A CT scan is especially useful for emergency cases where a patient may have internal injury or bleeding.
When Is a CT Scan Used?
Not every patient with chronic pain takes a CT scan. Unless the pain is unbearable enough that it interferes with many of your daily tasks and hobbies, the doctor will most likely recommend treatment methods like a healthier diet, lifestyle changes, or physical therapy first. If chronic pain persists, then your medical expert may recommend a CT Scan. CT scans are useful for detecting infections like appendicitis, abscesses, infected fluid collections and more. These conditions can cause an uncomfortable amount of constant pain and may be dangerous to patients if left untreated.
How to Prepare for a CT Scan
Patients preparing for a CT scan should come with loose, comfortable clothes. The pain clinic may provide a gown to wear during the procedure. You should not have any metal objects on your person, as the scanning makes use of magnetic waves. If you have metallic implants, it is not recommended that you take a CT scan. Let your doctor know about any allergies as some people may have a reaction to the contrast material used during the procedure. If you have allergies, then the clinic may provide medication that you must take 12 hours before the examination.
Should You Have a CT Scan?
A CT scan comes with few risks. Unlike a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, a CT scan exposes the patient to a small dose of radiation. Women should always let their physicians know about any possibilities of being pregnant before the exam. If you are pregnant, it is almost always best to wait until after the child is born to move forward. If the patient is a child, a scan should only be done if it is essential for the diagnosis. Expert radiologists can track for the right amount of radiation dosage exposed to the patient during scanning.
For many, the benefits of a CT Scan outweigh the risks, as it can reveal sources of pain that can be life-threatening. If you need to find your source of pain, Garden State Pain Center is a pain clinic in New Jersey with multiple locations. Find your nearest office today and contact us for an appointment.