Spiral - Computed Tomography

What is computed tomography (CT)?
Computed Tomography (CT) is an x-ray examination, where the body part which has to be examined is x-rayed layer by layer and a cross section picture is displayed by computer. This process can reveal the source of a disease in a way that could not be achieved by conventional x ray.. The examination time is shortened enormously through modern technology (“spiral technology”).

How does the examination take place?

The patient lies flat on a couch for this procedure. This moves slowly into the coned opening of the CT. It is relatively wide and open in the front and back, so there is no need to feel constricted. You can speak to the doctor or x-ray personnel at anytime in case of distress.

For a successful examination it is important for you to follow the breathing instructions, otherwise the assessment of the pictures can be severely impaired.

In many cases it is necessary to inject a contrast medium to get more accurate pictures or to differentiate structures. These injections sometimes bring a gentle, harmless sensation of warmth as well as an unfamiliar taste in the mouth. Both disappear after a few seconds.

If you need an abdominal examination examined in the abdomen, a diluted contrast medium in about one litre of water is administered before the examination. This is best consumed in sips over a 30-40 minute period before the CT scan.

Should I expect complications?

Usually the examination proceeds without problems. The contrast mediums, if given to the patient, are generally well-tolerated. In some cases though oversensitivity to certain substances can sometimes lead to allergic reactions and circulation problems.

Nausea, itches, rashes and similar allergic reactions do fade away quickly and on their own, no further treatment is necessary in most cases.

Serious reactions such as swelling of the mucosa in the areas of the larynx, failure of the cardiovascular system, trouble with breathing and spasms are extremely rare. In some cases, they can require immediate intensive-care medicine. In exceptional circumstances they can be life-threatening or lead to permanent damage (e.g. kidney failure, brain damage).

If any symptoms of malaise, itches, sneezing attacks, dizziness, nausea, headache or other symptoms occur during or after the examination, please being them to the attention of the doctor or other medical staff as soon as possible.

If contrast mediums have been injected during the examination, you should, unless otherwise advised, drink a lot (water, juices) afterwards to improve the excretion of the contrast medium.

X rays do present a risk to the unborn child so please inform medical staff about an existing or presumed pregnancy!