If your doctor has told you that you need a CT scan (or computed tomography scan), you may have already started to shop around for imaging centers. As soon as you start this process, though, it’s clear that there is a massive variation in prices for CT scans.
Are more expensive CT scans better? Unless you’re a radiologist, you might not know what makes a good CT machine and why you should care, but it’s more important than you might realize.
What Makes a Good CT Machine and Why You Should Care
Before we talk about CT machine quality, let’s get a general understanding of how these machines work. A CT machine looks like a part piece of equipment with a tunnel down the middle, and your body passes through this tunnel. As you pass through, the machine is sending narrow beams of x-rays through your body, and this produces a cross-sectional image of your body.
While your radiologist and your CT technician will impact your scan’s results, the quality of the machine matters too. The key measure of your CT machine quality is its slice count.
CT Slice Counts
As we noted, as you pass through a CT machine, the machine is taking cross-sectional images of your body. Each of these images is called a “slice.” Ultimately, your scan will take enough slice images to piece together a three-dimensional view of your body.
Each CT machine can take a certain number of slices at a time. Most of today’s CT machines will range from 16 to 128 slices, but you may see single-slice CT machines randing through 320-slice machines.
CT machines with higher slice counts offer several benefits. They can produce more detailed, in-depth images to guide your future medical care. They can also complete your scan more quickly because they’re taking more slices at a time, so your scan is briefer and it creates a lower dose of radiation.
Why Your CT Machine Matters
Depending on your condition and your stage in your medical care, your CT scan can serve a number of different purposes. It could be used to diagnose your condition or get a better view of your needs and plan your medical care or your surgery. It can also help your doctor determine if your treatments are working and whether they need to change their plan.
In one way or another, your CT scan will affect your doctor’s ability to adequately treat your condition and protect your health. CT scans that are low-quality could make your medical care less effective or even lead to surgical complications if they don’t give your surgeon a clear understanding of what to expect.
How to Get a High-Quality CT Scan
Now that you have an understanding of what makes a good CT machine and why you should care, you can take the time to find a high-quality CT scan that will give your doctor all the information they need. Imaging Panda’s online tool allows you to input the details of the scans you need so you can compare the imaging centers in your area at a glance. Get started with our CT scan search tool today.