Computerised Tomography (CT) Scanning
CT scanning is a technique that has been available since the early 1970’s. It uses X-Rays, but instead of using film, an X-ray detector and an X-Ray source spin around the patient, a computer then uses the X-Rays detected to reconstruct an image which is printed on conventional X-Ray film
From a patient’s perspective it is fairly similar to having an MRI scan, the difference being that the tunnel you lie in is a bit wider, and the scan is much quicker, often taking only 10 minutes. CT scans do not give us the fine detail that an MRI scan can, but they can be more useful in certain conditions, and are certainly more useful at imaging some bony structures
You can have a CT scan if a metallic implant prevents you having an MRI scan, and the waiting time for a non-urgent CT is much shorter than an MRI. As this test involves X-Rays it is important that you let the staff in the scanning unit know if there is any chance that you are pregnant
CT scanning is particularly useful at looking at the bony anatomy of both the skull and spine. Thus they are sometimes requested in addition to an MRI scan where particular detail is needed of the bony structures of the skull base before pituitary surgery, or an instrumented fusion of the spine is being considered
Getting Your Results
Rather than waiting for an outpatient appointment to get your results, I will do my best to contact each patient by telephone and let them know the results of their scan, and the treatment I recommend. Occasionally, I am unable to contact you and thus will send you a letter outlining the results of the scan and the treatment I recommend. Remember there is usually a delay in you having the scan and the scans / report reaching me, please be patient and I will give you your results as soon as I can. Your GP will be informed of any results and plans for treatment.