CT for Kids: What is an CT Exam?
An CT exam is a way that doctors take pictures of the inside of you without ever even touching you! They use the pictures of your insides to find any problems so they can help you feel better.
The CT machine works with a computer to take pictures of what’s happening inside your body. The pictures won’t really make sense to you, but a special doctor called a radiologist knows just what to look for so that other doctors will know how to help.
The CT machine looks kind of like a giant doughnut standing up. It has a bed that slides through its doughnut hole where they will take pictures of you. Inside the doughnut hole, you’ll hear a soft humming sound, but we promise the machine won’t hurt you!
Why You Need a CT Exam
Doctors can use a CT exam to look at the squishy parts inside of you called your tissue. They’ll be looking at things like your brain, chest, stomach, hips, arms, or legs–wherever you hurt. Doctors then use the pictures from the CT to figure out how to help you feel better.
Before the Exam
The person who will help you and make the CT machine work is called the technologist. Before your CT, make sure your technologist knows if you have been sick or have allergies. You should wear loose clothes, or your technologist will give you a gown to wear during the exam.
You might need to have a dye called contrast put in your body. Contrast makes the pictures clearer so the radiologist can see better. A nurse will put the contrast in your arm or hand with a needle, but it won’t hurt long; it should only feel like a quick pinch.
In the exam, you have to stay very, very still like you’re a statue so the images don’t get blurry. If your parent or technologist thinks that you’ll need help staying still, they’ll give you something called sedation. This can be in a drink or medicine or with a needle. It probably won’t make you sleep, it just will help you stay still for the scan. If you’re getting sedation, you won’t be able to eat or drink anything for a few hours before your exam.
You will lie down on the bed like you’re going to sleep, and your technologist will help you get in the position they need to take the right pictures. The technologist might use straps to help position you, and these will be like your seat-belts for the exam.
Once they’re done positioning you, your technologist will need to leave the room to work the CT machine. Don’t worry, though, they’re not leaving you alone! They will be able to see and talk to you from the other room.
When the exam starts, the bed will move into the machine’s doughnut hole where it will take your pictures. The machine will not hurt you, but you’ll soft humming noises. This is just the camera at work!
Remember to stay very still while the machine is taking pictures. If you move, the pictures will be blurry and the technologist might need to take them again. You will be able to take breaks and relax when the machine isn’t taking pictures, and your technologist will let you know when it’s okay to relax a bit.
After the Exam
When you’re all done, your technologist will come back and help you up. If you had sedation, you’ll need to rest up a bit, and if you had contrast, you’ll need to drink plenty of water. Your technologist will make sure that the radiologist gets your pictures. That way they can find what’s wrong or make sure everything is okay. Your doctor will then tell you what you need to do next!
source: Inside View