CT Scan in Kirkland, WA
In the past, it wasn’t always possible to visualize what was going on beneath the surface of the skin. Without advanced imaging capabilities, diagnosing problems and monitoring medical devices is often very challenging. Fortunately, technology has advanced significantly in the last few decades, and today, low dose CT scans allow doctors to gain valuable insights for treatment without the need for exploratory surgery or other invasive diagnostic techniques.
Experienced aesthetic surgeon and ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Ludwig A. Allegra, MD of NW Face Medical, utilizes low dose CT scan technologies to allow for a more precise view of the affected area in complex cases such as patients with chronic sinusitis. We proudly serve patients throughout the Kirkland, Bellevue, and Seattle areas and are dedicated to helping each person who comes through our doors look and feel their best.
What Is Low Dose CT Scan?
CT stands for “computed tomography” and uses X-rays combined with computer processing to capture a cross section of the body’s tissues and organs and render them in 3-D. CT scan technology has been in use for many years, but new developments have made the scans safer and faster than ever.
Dr. Allegra and NW Face Medical use a low dose CT scanner for Kirkland, Bellevue, and Seattle patients, which allows for a faster body scan process with significantly less radiation than other CT scanners. CT scans are a painless way to analyze the body structures, allowing the doctor to get an in-depth view of the area before devising a treatment plan.
Benefits of Using CT Scan for Cosmetic and Functional Revision Surgery
There are many benefits to using CT scans for a variety of functional and reconstructive purposes. This technology enables us to:
- Improve diagnosis and determine when surgery is necessary
- Guide treatment for patients who require reconstructive surgery
- Monitor patients’ conditions when necessary
What Can I Expect?
A low-dose CT scan is non-invasive, painless, as well as quick. It does not use dyes or injections and does not require any prior preparation. It takes under a minute to complete the actual scan and the entire process takes about a half hour.
Before getting a CT scan, the patient will change into a gown and lie on the CT machine table with their arms raised over their head. The table passes through the CT machine as X-rays are taken of the affected area. The doctor will ask the patient to remain still during the scan to achieve the most precise images without any blurring. A sound is produced as the scan rotates around the body.
The scanner does cover the entire body, but both ends of the machine are open so that the patient can always see and hear what is going on outside.
Once the scan is complete, it is sent to the 3D image workstation where Dr. Allegra can manipulate it on multiple planes and recreate a 3D representation of the area of the body in question.
How CT Scan Is Used During the Consultation
Not every patient at NW Face Medical in Kirkland needs a CT scan, but any imaging that may be required will be assessed prior to or during the consultation. Low dose CT scans are an excellent diagnostic tool for our physicians and may be needed for more complex ear, nose, and throat cases or in planning for reconstructive surgery. Since CT scans produce a small amount of radiation, Dr. Allegra will only order these images if he feels it is necessary to make a definitive diagnosis.
Which Procedures Use CT Scan?
Low dose CT scan is used for a variety of procedures here at NW Face Medical, including:
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Sinus surgeries including septoplasty, functional rhinoplasty, turbinate reduction, endoscopic sinus surgery, revision sinus surgery, and nasal polyp surgery.
Possible Risks of Low Dose CT Scan
Compared to traditional CT, the low-dose CT scan uses less radiation — about 5x less. The low-dose scan delivers 1-4 millisieverts of radiation (depending on the patient), while the conventional scan typically delivers about 5-20. Radiation exposure should be something to keep in mind when going in for a treatment, such as a low-dose CT scan, but the benefits of the screening typically outweigh the risks if the surgery has the potential to dramatically change the patient’s life. To put it in perspective, getting a low-dose CT scan is about the same as receiving 15 X-rays or natural background radiation for 6 months.
What’s the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?
CT scans use X-rays (radiation) to take images of the body whereas MRIs use magnetic fields and radiofrequency pulses to take pictures of the organs and body structures. MRIs can produce more detailed images, but are expensive, take longer and can trigger claustrophobia in patients, and are not necessary for all diagnostic tasks. MRI technology is also noisy and the magnets involved in the imaging process can be unsafe for some patients.
Are CT scans safe?
It is true that CT scans produce radiation, but the risks involved are overall minimal. The CT scans we use at NW Face Medical in Kirkland use lower doses of radiation, so the risk of developing medical problems from a low dose CT scan is extremely low. If Dr. Allegra orders a CT scan, it means that the benefit will outweigh the risk.
Is there a difference between a low-dose CT scan and a traditional X-ray?
Low-dose CT scan is recommended for a variety of diagnostics and in some cases, for surgical planning. It is a newer form of CT scan also known as helical CT scan. It rotates in a spiral motion and takes several 3D X-rays. The X-rays are detailed and can help diagnose and pinpoint the exact nature of the problem. This allows the doctor to develop the exact treatment plan for the patient. Another difference between low-dose CT scans and X-rays is that CT scans take less time.
How do I prepare for a CT scan?
Depending on which part of the body is being scanned, there are different instructions involved. If any preparation is needed, this information will be provided during the initial call to schedule the consultation.
What is a CT scan like?
Most CT scans take less than 10-15 minutes. You’ll lie on a table and slide into the CT scan machine. Sometimes contrast is needed, in which case a temporary IV will be placed in the arm by the nurse. Once the scan has taken place, you’ll wait while the doctor assesses the images. He’ll then discuss his findings with you and discuss your next steps for treatment, if necessary.
Why should I choose Dr. Allegra?
Dr. Allegra, MD, is the founder of Northwest Face and Body. He is board-certified by multiple specialty groups and has extensive experience in treating a full range of cosmetic concerns of the face and body. His skills range from functional to aesthetic. He and his team take pride in providing exceptional patient care and naturally beautiful results.
Do you need a procedure that requires a low dose CT scan? If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Allegra, contact his Kirkland, WA office at 206.525.2525 to speak with a friendly office team member today.