CT Lower Extremity Non joint Hip-Knee-Ankle without Contrast
CT (Computed Tomography) scan is an imaging modality that uses a series of X-rays taken from different angles and a computer to create cross-sectional images of internal body organs, bones, and soft tissues. A CT scan of the lower extremity (non-joint) includes all the structures, tissues, bones, muscles, and blood vessels starting from your hip joint to the tip of your toes, except detailing the joints. A CT scan without contrast does not involve the use of contrast material which is often used in some scans to enhance image quality.
Why and when do you need this test?
Your doctor may advise this test if you have signs and symptoms of a disease related to your legs or some deranged results of other medical tests that may point toward the pathology of the structures that reside in the legs.
Some of the indications for a CT scan lower extremity include the following;
- Pain, redness, or swelling in your legs
- Tender points
- Finding a mass during a physical examination
- Suspicion of an abscess or infection
- Trauma to the legs(causing fractures)
- Suspicion of a Tumor
- A complicated non-healing scar tissue
- Structural deformity
- As a guide for some surgical procedures (or biopsies)
Do you need to prepare for the test?
- You can drink and eat normally unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- Take advice from your doctor about your daily medications.
- Wear loose, easy clothing
- Remove any object that can come in the path of X-rays, like glasses, hearing aids, dentures, jewelry, hairpins, etc.
What can you expect?
- You will be asked to lie down on the table that will slide into the CT scan machine that looks like a large donut with a tunnel.
- You need to lie down still and not move to prevent the images from getting blurry.
- You will be alone in the room but under the constant care of a technician across the glass window who will be talking to you.
- It is a painless procedure that lasts for about 10-15 minutes but may take longer.
Are there any risks to this test?
It is a non-invasive test that uses low doses of X-rays that poses no risks unless you are pregnant. X-rays can harm the developing baby in your womb. Please Inform your doctor if you are pregnant.
What do the test results mean?
A radiologist who is an expert in interpreting CT scan results will send a signed report to your doctor. Your doctor could tell you if the report shows any abnormality that may be causing your symptoms.
The abnormal results may include;
- Fractures of the bones
- A Blood clot in the veins (deep venous thrombosis)
- Tumor/ cancer
Other related tests may include:
- X-ray of the legs
- MRI of the legs
- CT angiography of the legs
- Doppler ultrasound of the legs (to check for clots in the blood vessels)