Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography
What you should know
Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography (Precare) Care Guide
- Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography
- Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography Aftercare Instructions
- Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography Discharge Care
- Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography Inpatient Care
- Cranium Chest And Spine Computerized Axial Tomography Precare
- En Espanol
- A computed axial tomography scan is also called a CT scan or CAT scan. This procedure takes pictures of parts of your body such as your cranium (skull), chest, and spine. The scan shows bones, tissues, and blood vessels in these body areas. Each picture, also called a slice, shows a few layers of your body tissue at a time. Dye or contrast may be used during the scan to help your tissues and blood vessels show up clearly. A CT scan of the cranium may show brain tumors (growths), or areas in your brain that are not getting enough blood.
- A chest CT scan can find problems such as a narrow or weak trachea (windpipe), a nodule, or a tumor. A spine CT scan is used to check for fractures of the vertebrae (bones in your spine), or pressure on nerves. If you have been injured, a spine CT can show if the bones of your spine are out of place. Having a CT scan may help caregivers find and learn about a medical problem. A CT scan can help you and your caregiver plan the best treatment for the problem. If you are being treated for a disease or condition, a CT scan can show caregivers if the treatments are working.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- The contrast used in a CT scan may cause skin itching, a rash, or trouble breathing. If you have diabetes, your risk of having kidney damage may increase if contrast is used during your scan. If you are female and pregnant, a CT scan may cause problems with your unborn baby. Your eyes may be damaged. The radiation from a CT scan may increase your risk of getting cancer. A CT scan may not show certain medical problems, or how bad medical problems are. It may also show problems that were not expected.
- If you do not have a CT scan, your caregiver may not find or learn about your condition. If a medical problem is not found and treated, it may get worse. If you are being treated for a medical problem, a CT scan may show if treatments are working. Without the scan, caregivers may not know if treatments are working. Talk to caregivers if you have questions or concerns about CT scans of the skull, chest or spine.
Before your procedure:
- Ask caregivers if you should have someone drive you home after your CT scan.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
What will happen:
- You may be told to change into a hospital gown and remove all jewelry or other metal objects. Through your IV, caregivers may give you medicine to help you relax, and contrast for the scan. Your caregiver will tell you if you need to lie on your back or on your stomach. Your head may be held still using straps on your forehead and chin. Caregivers may watch how fast your heart is beating, how fast you are breathing, and your blood pressure. The CT scan table will be moved into the hole in the middle of the machine. You will hear clicking sounds as the machine moves and takes pictures.
- You must lie still while the CT scan is being done. During a CT scan of your spine or chest, you may need to hold your breath for a few seconds. You may also need to avoid swallowing for a few seconds during a spine CT scan. If your CT scan is being done using contrast, pictures will be taken before and after the contrast is given. When the scan is done, the table will move out of the machine.
After your procedure:
Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK. When your caregiver sees that you are OK, you may be able to go home. If your caregiver wants you to stay in the hospital, you will be taken back to your hospital room. Caregivers will explain the results of your CT scan to you.
This is an area where your family and friends can wait until you are able to have visitors. Ask your visitors to provide a way to reach them if they leave the waiting area.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your CT scan on time.
Seek Care Immediately if
- Your signs and symptoms, such as headaches or trouble breathing, are getting worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.