Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ask The Experts: Low Dose CT

We finish this months discussion with Dr. Ajay Viswambharan on CT scans, focusing on low dose CT scans. Previously, he discussed what a CT scan is and how it works, as well as the concern for radiation exposure. He continues to answer questions regarding the low dose CT scans available at Atlantic Medical Imaging, and what precautions we take to lower radiation doses.

Are the images with a low dose CT scan as clear as the standard CT scan?
Yes. Image quality is calibrated to maintain diagnostic quality. At Atlantic Medical Imaging we ensure that your imaging will be done with the least possible radiation while still maintaining exceptionally high quality imaging.

What measures do you put in place to ensure each patient receives a low dose CT scan?

CT scanners at all AMI offices automatically use addition special software (called ASIR or SafeCT, depending on the model). They are automatically used on all exams on all patients. 

What is the average dose of radiation with each scan, and how does that compare to the natural/environmental exposure?

Dose reduction varies by body part scanned. Typical dose reductions are in 30-50% range. So many exams are half the dose of standard CT scanners without this additional software that AMI has installed.

AMI is part of the Radiation Dose Registry for ACR, what does that entail and how does AMI monitor the protocols for low dose ct scans?

All individual patient doses are sent from the scanners to the American College of Radiology Dose Registry. They compare our doses to those of other Radiology centers. We get reports from the ACR detailing how our doses compare to other centers. AMI CT doses are as low or lower than many of the leading radiology centers.

For more information on CT scans please visit : http://atlanticmedicalimaging.com/pages/what-is-a-ctcat-scan

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ask the Experts: Low Dose CT Scans

As you read in our last Ask The Experts Post, Atlantic Medical Imaging has recently installed ultra low dose CT technology in all of our outpatient imaging facilities that provide CT scans. This new technology ensures that each patient is receiving the least amount of radiation possible.

In this post, we continue the discussion with Dr. Ajay Viswambharan and focus on the use of CT scans and how AMI is able to reduce radiation exposure.

What are some common uses of a CT scan? (Why would a doctor order a CT?)

Some common reasons why a doctor would order a CT scan would be to assess a body part's structure or shape, or diagnose a disease, trauma, or injury. CT scans are also a great alternative to certain types of exploratory or diagnostic surgeries. They can also aid in the planning of surgery or as a visual aid for biopsies and other interventional procedures.

When would a patient have a CT scan versus an MRI?

A physician would determine if a CT or MRI is needed based on what part of the body they want to see, and the reason for the exam.  For example, a CT scan does not show tendons and ligaments as well as an MRI due to the density of the tissue. The spinal cord is best seen with an MRI for the same reason. 
CT scans however, are the preferred method when diagnosing or assessing cancer and tumors, pneumonia, to see the chest and lungs, or to see the sinus cavities. CT scans are also very beneficial to see the internal organs, for trauma patients, and to rule out internal bleeding. 

There is concern about radiation exposure, how does AMI ensure that the CT scanners are low dose?

In addition to software built into all CT scanners that adjusts the radiation dose based on the patients size, all AMI CT scanners are equipped with special software that allows the use of less radiation to generate diagnostic quality images. This software is used on all exams so that all patients will benefit.

Continue to check back for more questions answered by Dr. Viswambharan. 

If you would like a specific question answered, please visit the Ask The Experts page and leave your question in the comment section. We will work hard to ensure your question is answered by one of our radiologists.