If you’re expecting to have a CT scan in San Antonio, it can be helpful to understand what to expect at the imaging center. Computed tomography (CT) scans, also called CAT scans, use information gleaned from emitting X-rays through a patient to produce cross-sectional images of the internal structures of the body. A CT scan is commonly used to diagnose lymphoma, pancreatitis, appendicitis, colon cancer, and many other medical conditions.
You can learn more about CT scans by watching this video or speaking with your doctor. This brief animation explains how you’ll lie on a special sliding table that is inserted into the machine. When the table stops moving, the scanner moves around your body and emits X-rays. A computer analyzes the information to produce an image.
A radiology specialist can perform nuclear medicine procedures in San Antonio to produce medical images that facilitate the diagnosis of diseases and conditions . The radiology specialist gives the patient a radioactive substance either intravenously or orally. Some patients may be concerned that nuclear medicine procedures can be painful or harmful. You can discuss your concerns with your doctor or radiologist ahead of time.
Patients undergoing these exams are not exposed to more radiation than is emitted during a typical X-ray. Although there is still some risk with any amount of radiation, this risk is minimal for these procedures. Nuclear medicine procedures are not painful. If the substance is administered intravenously, then the patient will feel a pinprick when the needle is inserted through the skin. A cold sensation may be felt, but this is not painful. Some discomfort may be experienced if a catheter needs to be inserted into the bladder, but this is not required for most nuclear medicine procedures.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are a type of exam that a radiology specialist can perform. Most imaging scans performed at imaging centers in San Antonio produce images of the internal structures. PET scans are different because they can reveal how well organs and tissues are working. Thanks to this innovative technology, a radiologist is able assess abnormal masses, analyze brain function, check blood flow to the heart, and stage cancer.
How do PET scans work?
PET scans require the radiology specialist to inject the patient with radioactive glucose . The radioactive tracer collects in various areas of the body and produces emissions that are detectable with a special imaging device. In some cases, patients may undergo a combined PET/CT or PET/MRI exam, which allows the information from the two different exams to be combined. This can facilitate greater accuracy with image interpretation.
Are they painful or harmful?
When patients learn that they will be injected with a radioactive substance, they often become alarmed at the potential risks of radioactivity. But there is nothing to be concerned about. The amount of radiation is trivial and the risk is minimal. The substance has a very short half-life and it leaves the body in just a few hours. The only discomfort patients experience is the pinprick sensation when the radioactive substance is injected. This feels no different than a normal injection. PET scans are not associated with any known side effects.
How should patients prepare for a PET scan?
Before a patient receives a PET scan, he or she must inform the provider at the imaging center about recent illnesses, other medical conditions, and medications. Women should inform the radiologist if they are pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Patients are usually asked to refrain from eating for four to six hours before the appointment. Water can usually be consumed as usual.
When will I get my results?
This depends on the imaging center, but patients usually get results in 24 to 48 hours. Patients can contact their physicians to discuss the results.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful tool for diagnosing many different health problems, including tumors, infections, and internal injuries. Patients undergoing an MRI near San Antonio should contact the imaging center ahead of time to discuss their concerns if they have claustrophobia. The radiologist can coach you through every step of the exam to help you have a positive experience despite claustrophobia.
Consider Seeing a Therapist
A therapist cannot help you overcome claustrophobia overnight, but it can be helpful to speak with one before your appointment at the imaging center. A therapist can help you get to the root of your fears and give you some advice on coping with the enclosed space of the MRI machine.
Ask About Medications
Anti-anxiety medications might not be appropriate for every patient, but they might help those who suffer from physical symptoms like the symptoms of panic attacks. If your claustrophobia is severe and you’re concerned that you won’t be able to lie still throughout the exam, you might consider talking to your doctor about using an anti-anxiety medication. Before taking these medications, be sure to ask the doctor if you’ll need to have someone else drive you to and from the imaging center.
Learn About the Exam
Some people with claustrophobia find that becoming fully informed patients allows them to cope with MRI exams. Don’t be shy about asking the radiologist questions about the equipment or the procedure. Let the radiologist know what he or she can do to help you have a positive experience. For example, you might benefit from receiving estimates during the exam of how much longer it will take.
Listen to Music
Patients undergoing MRI scans can often listen to music. MRI machines are rather noisy, which can add to a person’s anxiety. Music will help block out the noise. Listening to relaxing music can even help ease muscle tension.
Distraction is often effective when dealing with claustrophobia during an MRI exam. While you’re lying on the table, you can mentally recite the verses of a favorite poem, compose a mental to-do list, or ponder what to make for dinner during the rest of the week. With the help of distraction, the exam will be over in no time.
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