Radiology Services

Computed Tomography (CT)

A CT scan, previously also referred to as a CAT scan, is a test that uses an X-ray machine that spins around the patient to obtain detailed images known as cross sectional imaging. This means that many images of the body are produced as if the body had been sliced and turned onto its side for viewing. Modern CT scanners can produce multiple slices of the body in one single rotation and as such are know referred to as Multi-Slice or Multi-Detector CT scanners. The sophisticated computer within the CT scanner is then able to stack these slices together to create a 3-Dimensional image of the body part that has been studied.

CT scanning is an excellent medical tool that is used to detect a whole range of disorders and can be used to scan most parts of the body. In particular, it may be used to diagnose subtle fractures, tumours, tiny kidney stones, strokes and even narrowing or blockages of arteries. CT can also be used to look at the lungs, major body organs and bowel.

Computed Tomography (CT) Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed Tomography (CT) Computed Tomography (CT)

Preparation

The following CT scans require NO preparation:

  • Spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbosacral)
  • Extremity (hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, foot)
  • Kidneys-Ureter-Bladder - "KUB" (looking for kidney stones)
  • Sinus/Facial Bones
  • Dental/Dentascan
  • Most brain scans
  • Bone density scan

Unless otherwise specified at the time of booking, the following scans need X-ray dye (also known as contrast ) and therefore require fasting for 4 hours prior to the examination:

  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Abdomen and Pelvis (also must arrive 30 minutes before appointment  to drink 1L of water).
    “triphasic liver”), pancreas and kidney.
  • All Angiograms
  • If you are to undergo an examination that requires X-ray dye in conjunction with another that does not (for example, a CT of the lumbar spine and CT must also fast for four hours.
  • CT CONSENT FORM

Patients who have poor kidney function (renal impairment) will often not be given contrast so as not to worsen the condition. Diabetic patients who are to undergo a CT with contrast must let the clinic know if they are taking the medication known as Metformin. If this is the case, you will be given special instructions.

Information for Female Patients:

  • If you are pregnant, or it is possible that you may be pregnant, then a CT scan is usually NOT performed unless it is an absolute medical necessity to do so. It is possible that an ultrasound or MRI scan may provide similar information and therefore be used as a substitute. Please inform our clinic if this situation applies to you.

Procedure

  • Patients undergoing a CT angiogram, CT of the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis and spine will be asked to be changed into a gown. Patients undergoing a brain, dental, facial bones, sinus, wrist, elbow, foot, ankle or knee CT scan do not need to change.
  • You will then be placed onto a table that will position you within the scanner. You must lie still during the scan as movement will blur the images, similar to when a moving object blurs a picture when taking a photo.
  • A series of planning scans will be performed at the start which will localise which body part is to be imaged. The main part of the scan, which is when the images used for diagnosis are obtained, then follows and is usually over within a minute or two, sometimes within several seconds.

Depending on your examination, you may be asked by an automated voice to hold your breath. An injection of X-ray dye may need to be administered through a small plastic tube which has been inserted into an arm vein. Again, this depends on the examination that is being performed, however as a general rule, this is required for most CT examinations of the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. A CT scan looking for kidney stones only does NOT need this injection.

Contrast

If you are to be given contrast, download the consent form available on the website. Otherwise, you will be first provided with an information sheet when you arrive at RAD-ONE detailing the risks and benefits of the dye. This is then followed up by a brief questionnaire. The dye will only be given once you give your consent (permission) to do so, which will need to be formally documented on the information sheet with your signature. If it has been recommended to you by the radiologist that your scan requires dye it is because the information obtained during a scan with the dye yields significantly more information. We do understand however that no one likes needles, so if you have a particular objection to a needle or the dye, then naturally we may perform the scan without it.
All patients who have been administered dye need to wait in reception for 15 minutes before leaving in case there is a small chance of a delayed allergic reaction. Patients not administered contrast may leave immediately. Once you leave the clinic, you may resume normal activities and diet.

Results

A radiologist will then review the images and provide a formal written report. If medically urgent, or you have an appointment immediately after the scan to be seen by your doctor or health care provider, RAD-ONE will instantly have your results ready. Otherwise, the report will be SENT TO your doctor or health care provider within the next 24 hours.

  • Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

Remember ...

  • Please bring to the clinic, any prior scans (eg. X-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, CT) and reports as these will assist the radiologist in assessing your condition.
  • If you have any further queries please call RAD-ONE on 600 44 33 00 - we are only too happy to help.

Whilst every effort is made to keep your appointment time, the special needs of complex cases, elderly and frail patients can cause unexpected delays. Your consideration and patience in these circumstances is appreciated.

OPEN MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan uses a powerful magnet and radiowaves to produce superbly detailed views of the human body, particularly soft tissues, such as the brain, spinal cord and muscles. Unlike other imaging tests, MRI does not use radiation. Though some discomfort may occur from having to lay still, MRI is otherwise a painless procedure and typically takes approximately 20 minutes to perform.

Preparation

  • No preparation is necessary for an MRI scan. You can eat and drink normally.
  • As a strong magnet is used, all metallic devices MUST be removed before entering the MRI room.
    Please consult the MRI questionnaire also available on the RAD-ONE website. Otherwise, when you arrive, you will receive a detailed information sheet prior to entering the scanner.
  • On arrival at RAD-ONE, you will be asked to complete an MRI questionnaire before the scan to thoroughly understand your overall health.
  • Patients with cardiac pacemakers and cochlear implants cannot undergo MRI scans. Other metallic implants may prohibit patients from having an MRI scan. This includes people with certain types cerebral aneurysm clips, vascular stents, infusion pumps and neurostimulators.
  • You will be asked to wear the examination gown provided. You will then lie on a scanning table that moves into the bore of the MRI. The body part to be scanned will be positioned in the centre of the tunnel. A device, known as a coil, which improves the quality of the images, may be placed over the region of interest.

Information for Female Patients

Female patients are requested not to wear eye make-up for brain scans as this can affect image quality. If you are or might be pregnant, please call the Clinic in advance of your appointment so that the radiologist can discuss your situation with yourself and/or referring doctor. As a general rule, MRI scans are usually not conducted in the first trimester of pregnancy unless it is deemed by the referring doctor or radiologist that is an absolute medical necessity to do so and that the benefits of the test outweigh the risks. This of course assumes that there is no other test available that can provide similar information.

Procedure

You will know when the scan is under way as you will hear a vibrating sound. It is very important that you keep your body extremely still. Movement will ruin the image produced, similar to the blurring effect that occurs when taking a photograph of a moving object. Usually four or five different types of MRI scans are taken with each one lasting about 2-8 minutes. Overall, you will be in the scanner for about 20 minutes.
You will be in constant communication with the technician who conducts the MRI. Their role is to ensure that you are comfortable and kept you up-to-date with the progress of your scans. As an additional safety mechanism, you will be provided with a buzzer. Press this at anytime should you feel exceedingly uncomfortable or anxious. The scan at this point will be terminated and you will be immediately attended to by our staff.

MRI Contrast Dye (Gadolinium)

Some patients undergoing an MRI scan may require an injection of an intravenous (IV) dye (contrast) known as Gadolinium, which is a paramagnetic substance that is visible on MRI scans. The contrast is delivered into your body through a small plastic tube known as an intravenous cannula, which is placed into a vein in your arm by a nurse or radiographer who are both experienced in performing this procedure. This will result in a minor discomfort, usually no more than taking blood from your arm. The IV contrast is NOT radioactive.
The benefit of administering intravenous contrast for an MRI examination is enormous. The use of contrast greatly improves the accuracy of the examination and assists in excluding many life threatening conditions, such as cancer.
As for all medical procedures, there are risks associated with the administration of any substance, including IV contrast; however the benefit, such as an accurate diagnosis, outweighs the small risk of suffering from the side effects (discussed below). The decision to administer IV contrast is not taken lightly and is carefully made by your referring doctor and is based on your signs, symptoms, past medical history as well as the suspected diagnosis. If after reading the information below you are not willing to undergo a study with IV contrast, the test may still be performed without it, however you must be aware that the information from the examination may not accurately answer your doctor’s question. It is possible that another test may be appropriate, such as CT scan or Ultrasound, and this can be discussed with your referring doctor or our radiologist.
Most injections of IV contrast occur uneventfully. So that you are fully informed of the risks prior to the examination, RAD-ONE would like to inform you that:

  • The most common side effect is a minor contrast reaction, which occurs in less than 0.05% of cases. Symptoms include headache, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, hives and swelling and usually settle rapidly. Occasionally medications may be required to help alleviate the symptoms if they persists for some time and typically involve using an anti-emetic and Polaramine for hives and swelling. Polaramine can result in drowsiness, so is usually administered only if the swelling or hives is particularly severe. In this instance, you would need a responsible person to drive you back home.
  • Less commonly, a severe (anaphylactic) contrast reaction occurs in approximately 0.03–0.1% of cases. This includes a rapid or slow heart rate, low blood pressure, an asthma attack (bronchospasm) and complete circulatory collapse/shock. Such reactions require urgent medical treatment and immediate transfer to an appropriate facility, such as an emergency department or intensive care unit. Despite best medical attempts and rapid treatment, a person may die from a severe reaction, however this is fortunately rare, occurring in 0.0000001% (1 in 10 million) of cases. RAD-ONE possesses the equipment and trained medical staff to assist in managing these complications.
  • Patients with kidney (renal) impairment or failure should not undergo an injection of gadolinium unless this has been cleared by a specialist in this field (renal physician) in order to avoid a potentially life threatening situations.
  • Patients who have had a contrast reaction to the dye used in CT, IVP and angiographic examinations are at a 3.7 times increased risk of an adverse effects.

Otherwise, there is no way of predicting who will be allergic to contrast until the dye is given. A patient who becomes allergic will usually develop their symptoms within 10 minutes, typically within the first one or two minutes and therefore will be still on our premises where assistance and medical treatment may be provided.

Results

A radiologist will then review the images and provide a formal written report. If medically urgent, or you have an appointment immediately after the scan to be seen by your doctor or health care provider, RAD-ONE will instantly have your results ready. Otherwise, the report will be SENT TO your doctor or health care provider within the next 24 hours.

  • Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

Remember …

  • Please bring to the clinic any prior scans (eg. X-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, CT) and reports you have any further queries please call RAD-ONE on 600 44 33 00 – we are only too happy to help.

Whilst every effort is made to keep your appointment time, the special needs of complex cases, elderly and frail patients can cause unexpected delays. Your consideration and patience in these circumstances is appreciated.

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Information

Address
Rad-One
Puerto Deportivo
Local 3 Edificio C
Sotogrande
11310 Cadiz
Spain
Tel/Fax
T. 600 44 33 00
F. 956 01 92 42