Chapter: Diseases of The Brain and Nervous System(A Health Education Guide): Neuroradiology - Theimaging of The Brain

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CT Scan Machine

CT Scan Machine
The CT Scan Machine is like a cubical box and is called Gantry. Within this box lies a two feet long circular tunnel.

CT Scan Machine :

The CT Scan Machine is like a cubical box and is called Gantry. Within this box lies a two feet long circular tunnel. The stretcher like table on which the patient lies, can be moved in all directions upward, downward and side ways. The part of the body to be examined is kept at the center of the tunnel. The X-Ray tube lies in the middle of the tunnel, and rotates in a circular motion photographing the body part from each angle. These photographs are reflected on the detector, a computer carries out accurate calculations, divides the area into slices and then with the help of laser camera photographs are taken. The entire procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes and during this time the patient has to lie still.


On an average twenty photographs are taken on a 14" × 17" X-Ray film, which are interpreted by the radiologist and a report is made. A CT scan can gives detailed informationof organs right from the brain to the spinal cord and lungs to the stomach, so it is necessary to write exactly which body part is to be scanned. The scanning procedure is painless and the patient just has to lie down still for a short period of time. In the diseases of brain like tumor or infection, a special drug called the Contrast Agent is injected intravenously to figure out the circulation of blood inside the diseased part. This iodine-based drug (Iodinised contrast) sometimes can make a person nauseate or temporarily increase his body temperature. However, the patient becomes normal within a short period of 1 to 2 minutes. Therefore, the patient is advised to fast for three hours prior to the contrast CT Scan. A patient suffering from allergy, asthma, kidney disorder or thyroid disease can suffer a reaction in contrast CT Scan, so in these cases, a non-ionic dye is used to prevent a reaction. A pregnant woman should inform the doctor of her condition prior to the examination. CT Scan has no side effects except those caused by radiation, so the relatives and friends of the patient are not allowed inside the CT Scan room and the rest of the body of the patient is kept covered.

CT Scan has now become a preliminary diagnostic procedure for the diseases of the Brain and is now available at all the cities of district level in India and abroad. The average expenses of a CT scan roughly range from Rs. 1700 to 2000.

The CT scan can offer only limited information about the structures like the white matter of the brain and the spinal cord etc. In 1972,a scientist called Damadian discovered the use of magnetic field in the examination of the human body. Advanced computers are used to photograph the brain by using powerful magnetic fields. This is known as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (M.R.L). MRI has proved very beneficial in the examination and diagnosis of diseases like the brain tumor, paralysis, white matter disease, congenital disorders, and disease of the nervous system e.g. multiple sclerosis and the examination of the minutest and innermost parts of eyes and ears.


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