At Raleigh Capitol ENT, we strive to provide excellent, world-class care. We also know that our patients are busy and appreciate convenience. This is one reason why we’re pleased to be able to offer in-office CT (CAT) scans for evaluation of the sinuses.

What is a CT Scan?

CT scanning, sometimes called CAT scanning, is a noninvasive medical test that helps us diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT scanning combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.

Our CT scanner uses one-tenth of the radiation that other CT scanners do. This means our patients are exposed to much less radiation from the procedure when a CT scan is performed in our office.

How Does CT Scanning Help Diagnose Sinus Problems?

Some of the  sinuses are small, tiny, passageways and cavities. They are located above the eyes (frontal sinuses), inside the cheek (maxillary sinuses) and within the nose (ethmoid sinuses). 

During an infection or inflammation, swelling can  narrow these passages, setting the stage for an infection. Sometimes there are structural problems with the sinuses that can cause problems as well.

X-rays are not needed for all patients, and your doctor will suggest what is appropriate when you are in for your visit. However, if a CT scan is needed, it can often be done during your visit.

When is a CT scan needed?

For example, sometimes a patient has been suffering with sinusitis for months. The primary care physician has provided appropriate treatment, yet nothing seems to work. 

After an examination, one of our physicians decides more information is needed to give a complete diagnosis and tailor an effective treatment plan.

Therefore, a CT scan can be done to show all of the sinuses and nasal passages. 

Results are available within minutes and can be reviewed with you in the office. Perhaps the sinuses are free of infection and alternative diagnoses like allergies or migraines can be considered. Perhaps there are polyps or some other blockage that needs to be addressed. Or maybe chronic sinusitis is found, and more antibiotics or surgery are needed.

This convenient test (when appropriate) can help you and your doctor make the most informed decision about treatment.

Does a CT Scan Hurt?

No. The scanning takes less than five minutes. We can accommodate children, adults, and older patients. We use advanced technology (Siemens CARE dose) to deliver maximum image quality with minimized radiation doses.

How Does a CT Scan Work?

CT stands for computerized tomography. This scan utilizes different X-ray images from different areas and angles around your body. It then uses sophisticated computer processing programs to “combine” them in order to make detailed, cross-sectional images.

There are several advantages to CT scans.

First, they can provide more detailed images than X-rays alone. 

Second, they’re excellent for examining blood vessels and other soft body tissues. 

These make CT scans a natural choice when trying to find the best way to help our patients overcome the pain and inconvenience of sinus and nasal problems. 

How to Prepare for a CT Scan

There are two different types of CT scans: those that use contrast and those that do not. 

Contrast is a specialized dye that highlights the areas of your body that we are examining. Not all CTs require contrast. 

If your CT does not require contrast, there are no specific preparations you will need to take.

If you are going to have a CT with contrast, you should:

  • Avoid eating anything for four hours before the exam
  • Drink only clear liquids: you can have tea, black coffee, water and any fruit drinks that do not contain pulp.

After the CT exam, you don’t have to follow any special routines, and you should be able to eat and drink normally. We’ll then discuss the results of your scan with you. 

What Can a CT Scan Tell Us About Your Sinuses?

One of the reasons we use CT scans is to give us a close, detailed look at the structures of your nasal and sinus passages. 

CT scans can help us diagnose:

  • Structural abnormalities with your sinus passages or your nose
  • Nasal polyps
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • If your sinuses are filled with fluid

Raleigh Capitol ENT Utilizes the Latest CT Technology to Help You

Not only is our equipment state-of-the-art, but it also uses significantly less radiation than other traditional CT scans. This places us at the forefront of patient safety as we strive to be partners in your care.

By offering this procedure in our office, we keep you from having to make a trip to the hospital or an outpatient imaging center. Not only is this more convenient, but it’s more economical as well. 

If you’re having sinus issues, please schedule an appointment with us. There are several potential causes of chronic sinus problems, and often, a CT scan can help us pinpoint the root of the issue. This enables us to craft a specific treatment plan tailored just for you.

See why we are the premier ear nose and throat doctors in Raleigh. Contact us today