Computed Tomography scans use computer-enhanced X-rays to distinguish between tissue, bone, fat, fluid, and gas to get clear results that allow physicians to diagnose a problem and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. CT scans are used for detecting and diagnosing brain tumors, blood clots, stroke, cancer, trauma, pancreatic disease, back problems, and enlarged lymph nodes. They provide a quick view inside the body to help doctors with the diagnosis.
Computed tomography (CT) imaging requires team effort to provide the best results. The computed tomography patient care team in a full-service CT center is headed by a radiologist. The other members of the team include CT technologists and nurses who are specialists in administering injections. Each professional has important responsibilities for successful scan results.
Here are the roles performed by board-certified clinical and CT professionals:
- Clinical Radiologists – They are highly trained specialist medical doctors who perform and interpret diagnostic imaging tests as well as interventional procedures or treatments. They work with technologically advanced imaging equipment which helps them to examine and interpret to diagnose a patient’s medical condition and monitor progress. They also help doctors to treat patients by providing expert knowledge about their body. Clinical radiologists can also work in subspecialties like breast imaging (mammography), interventional radiology, pediatric imaging and much more. They review, interpret and send the results on various tests to the referring doctors.
The two kinds of clinical radiologists include:
- Diagnostic radiologists – They perform a range of medical images, including CT scans, X-rays, ultrasound scans and MRI scans, as well as nuclear medicine imaging to create medical images. They then interpret the images to diagnose injury and illness.
- Interventional radiologists – They diagnose and treat diseases using imaging equipment. They utilize various medical images including CT scans, ultrasound and MRI scans to precisely target and treat disease and also perform such procedures as biopsies. The interventional radiologists can carefully manipulate fine plastic tubes known as catheters, needles, and wires around the patient’s body guided by medical imagery to carry out medical procedures such as treating blocked arteries, kidney stones or tumors. Interventional radiology is a minimally invasive procedure that is alternative to surgery with very low risk.
The diagnostic and interventional radiologists among other radiology specialist have the same training but specialize in different areas. Accompanying radiologists during the CT scan procedures are CT technologists whose role is as follows:
- The CT Technologists – They are specially trained to operate the CT systems. CT technologists are trained in X-ray and computed tomography and are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to perform patient examination while under the supervision of a radiologist. They may also administer the contrast injection when it is required during a CT examination.
Sometimes, during a CT scan, soft tissues don’t show up, or they look faint on the image. A full-service cancer center uses a special dye known as contrast material that blocks the X-ray and appears white on the CT scan to highlight structures like organs and blood vessels, among other soft tissues. Contrast materials are administered orally, inserted in the rectum (enema) or through injection into the vein to help specific tissues and structures stand out in the image.