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Wondering? Questions About CT Scans

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: August 22, 2013

Questions-About-CT-ScansFrom the Summer 2013 Healthy Aging publication

Q:What is a Low-Dose CT Scan? Does it really matter?

A: Yes, it does. While some people may never have a CT scan in their lifetime, others have health conditions that require numerous scans. The radiation delivered by a CT scan is minimal, but exposure is cumulative, meaning the lower the exposure dose the better.

Federal data shows that in 2006, Americans received seven times more radiation exposure than in the 1980s, with much of the increase coming from CT scans. A wonderful diagnostic tool, the radiation exposure from a CT scan can’t be ignored. The good news is that, thanks to an investment in new technology, patients who receive a CT scan at any Porter facility are receiving 40 to 60 percent less radiation exposure than previously delivered.

At Porter, physicians use CTs to see images of bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time. A CT can visualize the brain and — with the help of injected contrast material — check for blockages or other problems in the blood vessels. With this ability to view all these things, diagnosing many different problems is easier, and in some instances, a diagnosis determined by a CT may eliminate the need for surgery. And, because CTs provide real-time images, they are also used for guiding minimally invasive procedures of many parts of the body.

While it may be called a low dose CT, it does not mean lower quality. A CT requires a certain amount of radiation to pass through the body to create a clear image, so just lowering the amount would not work well. With the advanced software in Porter’s scanners, the grainy quality of the images is decreased as the images are being processed.

Physician orders are required for a CT Scan. To schedule your CT, call 219-983-8399. Learn more about Porter's Diagnostic Imaging services here.