Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ask the Experts: Low Dose CT Scans

As you read in our last Ask The Experts Post, Atlantic Medical Imaging has recently installed ultra low dose CT technology in all of our outpatient imaging facilities that provide CT scans. This new technology ensures that each patient is receiving the least amount of radiation possible.

In this post, we continue the discussion with Dr. Ajay Viswambharan and focus on the use of CT scans and how AMI is able to reduce radiation exposure.

What are some common uses of a CT scan? (Why would a doctor order a CT?)

Some common reasons why a doctor would order a CT scan would be to assess a body part's structure or shape, or diagnose a disease, trauma, or injury. CT scans are also a great alternative to certain types of exploratory or diagnostic surgeries. They can also aid in the planning of surgery or as a visual aid for biopsies and other interventional procedures.

When would a patient have a CT scan versus an MRI?

A physician would determine if a CT or MRI is needed based on what part of the body they want to see, and the reason for the exam.  For example, a CT scan does not show tendons and ligaments as well as an MRI due to the density of the tissue. The spinal cord is best seen with an MRI for the same reason. 
CT scans however, are the preferred method when diagnosing or assessing cancer and tumors, pneumonia, to see the chest and lungs, or to see the sinus cavities. CT scans are also very beneficial to see the internal organs, for trauma patients, and to rule out internal bleeding. 


There is concern about radiation exposure, how does AMI ensure that the CT scanners are low dose?

In addition to software built into all CT scanners that adjusts the radiation dose based on the patients size, all AMI CT scanners are equipped with special software that allows the use of less radiation to generate diagnostic quality images. This software is used on all exams so that all patients will benefit.

Continue to check back for more questions answered by Dr. Viswambharan. 

If you would like a specific question answered, please visit the Ask The Experts page and leave your question in the comment section. We will work hard to ensure your question is answered by one of our radiologists.

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