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CT examination

Everything about CT examinations 
What is a CT examination?

A CT examination (computer tomography) is a special X-ray examination, which produces sequences of transverse sections of particular body parts with a thickness specified by the examiner. A radiology specialist evaluates these sequences using special computer software for the most accurate diagnosis.
A CT examination can give us answers to questions that could not be answered by using other methods (for example ultrasound or conventional X-ray examinations).

In what cases do we recommend a CT examination?
  • To diagnose or exclude diseases of the nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) and the skeletal system
  • To evaluate the condition of the facial skeleton, and paranasal sinuses
  • To assess the exact scope of known tumours in cases of suspected cancer in any location of the body
  • To detect inflammatory diseases; to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment of a cancer or an inflammation
  • To assess bleeding and the condition of bones and soft tissue in cases of accidents or injuries
  • To detect vessel narrowing and occlusion
At what age can the examination be performed?

A CT examination can be performed in all age-groups, but in children and pregnant women, it is only carried out in extremely necessary situations, due to radiation exposure.

How is the CT examination performed?

The CT scanner looks like a big, thick ring with a table moving at its bottom. During the examination, the patient lies on this table, which slides slowly and continuously through the wide ring. The latest CT machines with many detectors can be loud during operation; do not be alarmed by the sound. Making the image sequences only takes a short time. You should not move or even breathe (for certain examinations) for a few seconds, because movement and breathing make the images more or less uninterpretable. Our colleague will keep in touch with the patient via a microphone, and helps him/her with accurate instructions on when and for how long to hold his/her breath.
A CT examination is totally painless, but – usually – requires contrast medium, which entails an intravenous injection. After the orientation image, the first scan is usually a native scan. Several scans can be performed if necessary; the contrast medium is usually injected into the vein before the second scanning. The injection of the iodinated contrast medium may cause a bitter taste in the mouth, a warm sensation, or a need to pass urine for a few seconds. The CT examination usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes.

What risks/side effects does the examination involve?

When performing a CT examination, the imaging is made with X-rays, which means radiation exposure, so the examination should only be performed if the information obtained from the diagnostic imaging process is more beneficial for the health of the patient than the risk of radiation exposure.
The intravenous contrast medium given during the CT examination may rarely cause hypersensitivity in some patients, which is mild in most cases (nausea, rash, sneezing). Very rarely, severe complications may also occur. Side effects caused by the contrast medium are more likely if the patient has a heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney or thyroid gland disease. Our colleagues are prepared for the treatment of complications. Always inform your referring physician if you have had any hypersensitivity reaction caused by iodinated contrast medium during a previous examination.

What are the benefits of a CT examination?
  • It is painless
  • It is low-risk
  • It is fast
  • It can be performed for patients with a pacemaker
  • It is a precise, reliable and modern diagnostic procedure
In what cases should the examination not be performed?

A CT examination can be performed in all age-groups, even if the patient has an implant or a pacemaker. However, due to radiation exposure, the examination on children and pregnant women is only performed in extremely necessary cases.

How do I request a CT examination?

You can request a CT examination with a referral from a specialist working in a clinic or a hospital; general practitioners cannot refer patients for a CT examination. Patients with a referral get an appointment based on the general rules for medical appointments, and the examination is financed by the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (Hungarian acronym: NEAK). The booking time is usually 2 to 4 weeks.

A CT examination can be requested without a referral in the centres of Affidea Hungary in the form of private care, according to the price list. A private care examination is usually performed within 2 to 3 days. A recommendation from a specialist is required for a CT examination, even if you wish to have the examination in the form of private care. If you do not have an examination request from a specialist, feel free to contact our radiology specialist in the centres of Affidea for consultation.