What Is Wrist CT Scan?
Wrist CT (Computed Tomography) scan (also known as CAT scan) is a painless radiology exam. This is performed to examine the cause of pain in the hand area in a non-invasive manner. In this scan, multiple images of the bones and soft tissues of the hand are generated. This scan is also known as a CAT Scan of the Wrist and Hand CT Scan.
Generally, the images of the hand are taken in three different positions—one from the back with the palm facing down (posteroanterior or PA view), one at an angle (oblique view or ball-catcher view), and one from the side (lateral view).
The wrist CT scan helps doctors in detecting inflammatory conditions and injuries in the hand and surrounding areas. It also helps in evaluating other abnormalities in the hand such as tumors and infections.
In some cases, the CT scan of the wrist is done with the use of contrast material (dye) that is injected into the veins. When the contrast material is used, the bones in the hand are seen more clearly in the CT scan images.
Explore this article:
|1||Who Should Get a Wrist CT Scan?|
|2||What Is the Purpose of a Wrist CT Scan?|
|3||How Is a Wrist CT Scan Performed?|
|4||How Long Does a Wrist CT Scan Take?|
|5||Is Radiation Involved in a Wrist CT Scan?|
|6||Are There Any Risks in Taking a Wrist CT Scan?|
|7||When Will I Receive My Results?|
|8||How Should I Prepare for a Wrist CT Scan?|
Who Should Get a Wrist CT Scan?
Your doctor may recommend a CT scan of the wrist if you have:
- Experienced an acute trauma or injury to your fingers, hand, or wrist.
- Continuing pain, weakness, swelling, stiffness, numbness, or tingling in your fingers, hand, or wrist.
- A suspected fracture.
- A suspected dislocated joint.
What Is the Purpose of a Wrist CT Scan?
A wrist CT scan will help your doctor to:
- Find the cause of common signs or symptoms such as pain, tenderness, swelling, and deformity in the hand.
- Detect broken bones (fractures) or dislocated joints.
- Detect cysts, tumors, and other diseases in the bones.
- Assess for suspected osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection)
- Locate and understand injuries or degenerative diseases that affect one or both hands such as:
- Osteoarthrosis (flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (painful swelling in the joints of the hands)
- Monitor the growth of bone in the hands because if you have a metabolic disorder or a nutritional deficiency, your bones may not grow properly.
- Plan for hand surgery and to assess the results of the operation.
- Determine whether a bone is in proper alignment and if it has healed completely after a broken bone has been set.
Your doctor may also ask you to take the Vitamin D 25-OH test to measure the Vitamin D level in your blood. Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones. Depending on the results, your doctor will confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment.
How Is a Wrist CT Scan Performed?
- Before starting the CT scan of the wrist, you will have to remove all the metal objects on your body, including eyeglasses, jewelry, hairpins, and dentures.
- A technologist will ask you to lie on your stomach on the CT scanner table feet first with your arm raised over your head.
- The CT scanner table will then move slowly through a doughnut-shaped machine.
- An X-ray beam will move in a circle around your arm and will take multiple images that will be displayed on a monitor.
- The technologist will then reposition your hand to obtain the necessary views and will again take an image. This process will be repeated until all the necessary views have been obtained.
- During the scan, the technologist will ask you to sit still and hold your breath for a few seconds at certain points. Make sure you don’t move during the scan as any movement can blur the images.
In case, your doctor has asked you to take a wrist CT scan with contrast, then a contrast dye will be injected into your vein shortly before the scan begins.
How Long Does a Wrist CT Scan Take?
A CT scan of the wrist is usually completed within 40 minutes. This includes 20 minutes for preparation and 20 minutes for the scan.
Is Radiation Involved in a Wrist CT Scan?
Yes. CT scan is an imaging test, which involves a small amount of radiation to show images of the organs, tissues, and bones of the body.
Are There Any Risks in Taking a Wrist CT Scan?
- The risk for radiation exposure is low in a single CT scan. However, the effects of radiation and the risk of developing cancer due to radiation will increase with every CT scan a person gets.
- Developing babies are sensitive to radiation and are at more risk, so women should inform their doctors and the CT scan technicians if they are pregnant.
- People who have implants containing metal, such as implanted screws or pacemakers, may not get accurate CT scan results.
- Some people might also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used in a CT scan.
When Will I Receive My Results?
Once the CAT scan of the wrist is completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How Should I Prepare for a Wrist CT Scan?
Please refer to the simple preparation guidelines given below or consult with your doctor or radiology center where you are being treated. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.