What is a CAT Scan?
A CAT scan is an x-ray procedure that combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body. A CAT scan is used to define normal and abnormal structures in the body and/or assist in procedures by helping to accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments.
Purpose of a CAT Scan
A CAT scan is not a test for peripheral neuropathy, but is performed to exclude other disorders that produce similar symptoms. CAT scans are performed to analyze the internal structures of various parts of the body.
How is a CAT Scan Done?
Prior to a CAT scan, patients are often asked to avoid food, especially when contrast material is to be used. Contrast material may be injected intravenously, or administered by mouth or by an enema in order to increase the distinction between the signal of various organs or areas of the body.
Patients are placed on a movable table, and the table is slipped into the center of a large donut-shaped machine, which takes the x-ray images around the body. The procedure usually takes from a half an hour to an hour and a half.
Do CAT Scans Hurt?
A CAT scan is painless, but requires some patience, as the patient must remain still. Patients who are claustrophobic (fear of enclosed/small places) may need a medication for relaxation.