Computerized Tomography is an advanced diagnostic tool, and, as such, doctors will seldom order the procedure for a shoulder problem without first performing a physical examination and other preliminary tests. Doctors often use CT Scans to examine areas that are not shown clearly or in enough detail on an X Ray, or which would be better diagnosed by a multi-angle examination.
Image courtesy of Grant's Atlas of Anatomy
CT is not exclusively used in orthopedic diagnosis; instead, the emergence of the procedure has enabled doctors to better diagnose heart, spine and brain problems, as well as various forms of cancer, internal organ disorders, and other pathologies. Advancements in the field of radiology have allowed the CT Scan to become one of the most reliable and common diagnostic tools.
During the procedure, the patient lies on a moving table that is surrounded by a doughnut-shaped instrument, which houses the X-ray equipment. A technician administers the test, generally from a booth outside the patient’s room, while the patient waits quietly. The test will take about 30 minutes, or more, depending on the extent of the imaging needed. While the patient must lie perfectly still, he or she should expect the table to move, either continuously or every few seconds, while the machine makes images of the area from a number of different angles.
After the procedure, the films are developed and reviewed by a radiologist, physician, or surgeon, who will use them to further diagnose the patient’s condition.
Last updated: 11-Apr-07