Extremities are two anatomical areas. The upper extremity includes the shoulder, wrist, hand and fingers. The lower extremity are the hip, knee, ankle and foot.
Computed Tomography, or CT scan of the extremity, combines x-rays with computer technology to create images of the different bones. of the extremities. Unlike standard x-rays which take a picture of the whole area being examined, CT has the ability to image that same structure in layers, or "slices."
In standard x-rays, dense tissues like bones can block the view of the areas behind them. In CT, the image layers clearly show bone and soft tissue. CT assists physicians in both diagnosis and detection of a variety of conditions.
CT scanning can be used to obtain information about almost any part of the bod. The amount of radiation used in CT exams is similar to an x-ray.
CT scanning is a non-invasive method of diagnosis of issues that require a view inside the body. It is a short, painless procedure.
When would I get a CT of the Extremity?
CT of the extremity may be recommended and considered appropriate to evaluate:
- a known mass
- a questionable fracture in any part of the scanned extremity.
What Will I Experience?
A contrast material (dye that contains iodine) may be intravenously injected into the blood during the procedure.
The dye makes blood vessels and certain structures or organs inside the body more visible.
During a CT scan of the extremity, the extremity being studied is positioned inside a ring or “gantry” that is part of the CT scanner. The gantry and x-ray equipment can tilt and rotate to obtain a wide range of views.
For some patients, the challenging part of the CT exam is the need to lie perfectly still for a long period of time.