Using specialized X-ray cameras, a shoulder computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) produces cross-sectional images of the shoulder.

The soft tissues and bones in the shoulder can be seen by the doctor using this scan to look for any anomalies.

The CT scan may be used to detect blood clots and malignancies.

Contrast dye can be used during a CT scan or not.

Your doctor can examine critical vessels and structures with the use of the contrast substance.

Additionally, it enables them to spot anomalies that the dye cannot reveal.


What does a shoulder CT scan look for?

Evaluation of the shoulder following an injury is the most frequent cause of a shoulder CT scan. An example of a reoccurring injury would be the shoulder dislocating or bursting out of its socket repeatedly. Your doctor can spot a suspected fracture or more accurately analyze a fracture with the use of the scan.

A shoulder CT scan may be used by your physician to:

  • recognize lumps or tumors
  • recognize infections
  • recognizing tendons, ligaments, or muscle tears
  • identify post-trauma injuries, such as fractures or dislocations.
  • prepare for surgery
  • choose the best plan of action for your injury’s treatment.

When an MRI of the shoulder is not possible, your doctor may just request a shoulder CT scan to help detect issues with the shoulder joint, such as soreness, stiffness, or clicking sounds (for example, when a patient has a cardiac pacemaker).


What are the dangers of a CT scan of the shoulder?

The dangers of a shoulder CT scan are extremely low.

The procedure’s contrast dye could result in an allergic reaction or kidney issues. If your kidneys have already suffered from disease or infection, your risk is higher. The kidneys are substantially less at risk from newer dyes.

The CT scan exposes you to some radiation, just like any X-ray. While the radiation doses used in X-ray exams are deemed acceptable for adults, they are not for a fetus that is still developing. If you think you might be pregnant or are pregnant, tell your doctor.


What must be done to get ready for a shoulder CT scan?

The test is noninvasive, so getting ready for a CT scan won’t take much work on your side.

Because you’ll have to lie down on a table, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing. Additionally, you’ll be told to take off any jewelry and other metallic objects from your body.


How are shoulder CT scans carried out?

The radiology department of a hospital or a clinic with a focus on diagnostic procedures does CT scans. A CT technician will ask you to lie down on a bench after you have taken off your jewelry and are dressed in a hospital gown.

An intravenous line will be inserted if contrast dye is being used. In order to inject the contrast dye into your veins, a needle must be inserted into your arm. In terms of discomfort, having your blood drawn is comparable.

During the test, your technician could instruct you to lie in a particular position. To assist you in maintaining the proper alignment long enough to capture a high-quality photograph, they may employ straps or pillows. Additionally, to prevent image blurring during the quick individual scans, you might need to hold your breath.

Your technician will remotely move the table into the CT scanner from a different room. The device is built of plastic and aluminum and resembles a massive doughnut. The table will oscillate back and forth through the aperture as the machine revolves around you.

You might have to wait while the technician reviews the images following a series of scans. They must make sure the pictures are clear enough for your doctor to understand them. You can change into your regular clothes and resume your day after the scans are finished. It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to finish a CT scan.


What happens after the CT scan

Processing the results of a shoulder CT scan normally takes a day. When you return for a follow-up consultation, your doctor will go over the scan’s findings with you and advise you on the best course of action.


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