Puerto Vallarta is lucky to have state-of-the-art radiology equipment in addition to meticulous radiologists. Oftentimes, patients find themselves in the position of requiring various diagnostic testing but they do not really understand what the equipment is, or does.
HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta (HCR) decided to ask Dr. Rodriguez (radiologist) a few questions regarding CAT scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) studies.
HCR: What is a CAT scan used for?
Dr. Rodriguez: A CAT scan is used for macroscopic analysis of internal organs. It is oftentimes used as well, to assist in procedures by helping to accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments.
HCR: How is it performed? Is it painful?
Dr. Rodriguez: A CAT scan combines X-ray images and special sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or visualizations of the interior of the body, in 3-D. Each image is like a "slice" of the body. The images are examined in the computer, printed and transferred to a disc. The machine itself is like a table with a large "donut" shape that is at the head of the table. The table moves the body through the "donut." No, it is not painful.
HCR: Is there radiation that I could be exposed to that is dangerous?
Dr. Rodriguez: The CAT scan uses ionized radiation and is a minimal amount. The benefits of these studies far outweigh the potential dangers. It is a very low-risk procedure.
HCR: How long does the study take?
Dr. Rodriguez: The amount of time depends on the study performed (ie part of the body being scanned) and can be from 15 minutes to 90 minutes.
HCR: I have heard that they inject a dye into the body to do the study. What is this for?
Dr. Rodriguez: This is called contrast. The dye is used to better visualize the vascular structures. There are oftentimes specific contraindications to use the contrast and the dye (contrast) is never used without a physician being present.
HCR: Do we have CAT scan machines here in our area?
Dr. Rodriguez: There are eight CAT scan machines in the Vallarta area.
If you require further information on this type of diagnostic testing, or need to schedule an appointment, please contact me at pamela(at)healthcareresourcespv.com.
Pamela Thompson has lived and worked in Puerto Vallarta for over 17 years, 10 of them in health care. Pamela now leads HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta, a local healthcare resource network. Her years of experience and expertise are available to you by emailing your questions to pamela(at)healthcareresourcespv.com or by visiting HealthCareResourcesPV.com.
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