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CT scanning is a noninvasive medical test to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. It uses special x-ray equipment and computers to produce pictures of the inside of the body. The cross-sectional pictures can then be examined on the computer, or printed.
CT scans provide images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels; and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. The CT Scan assists doctors to more easily diagnose cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.
This exam only lasted a few moments after the injection of the contrast dye. My experience today with this scan was pretty uneventful. Once I got past the weird warm feeling that moved through my body with the contrast material injected right before the scan, and the bit of weakness I felt after the exam, I was fine. The worst part of the experience was reding the authorization form, and learning ll the horrible side effects possible from the contest dye. I wondered what was worse, cancer or reding and signing this form.
A bone scan is a nuclear scanning test that identifies new areas of bone growth or breakdown. It can be done to evaluate damage to the bones, find cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bones, and monitor conditions that can affect the bones (including infection and trauma). A bone scan can often find a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.
For a bone scan, a radioactive tracer substance is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer then travels through the bloodstream and into the bones. This process may take several hours. A special camera (gamma) takes pictures of the tracer in the bones. This helps show cell activity and function in the bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots, which may indicate a lack of blood supply to the bone (bone infarction) or the presence of certain types of cancer. Areas of rapid bone growth or repair absorb increased amounts of the tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures. Hot spots may indicate problems such as arthritis, the presence of a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.
A bone scan may be done on the entire body or just a part of it.
A bone scan is done to:
- Find bone cancer or determine whether a cancer from another area, such as the breast, lung, kidney, thyroid gland, or prostate gland, has spread (metastasized) to the bone. See a picture of a bone scan showing the spread of cancer .
- Help diagnose the cause or location of unexplained bone pain, such as ongoing low back pain. A bone scan may be done first to help determine the location of an abnormal bone in complex bone structures such as the foot or spine. Follow-up evaluation then may be done with a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Help diagnose broken bones, such as a hip fracture or a stress fracture, not clearly seen on X-ray.
- Find damage to the bones caused by infection or other conditions, such as Paget's disease.
Hugs, Debbie... aka the cancer warrior, and soon to be survivor!