What Does A Sinus CT Look For?
When it comes to sinus issues, getting a clear picture of what's happening inside your nasal passages is important for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. That's where a sinus CT (computed tomography) scan comes in. This medical imaging technique can lead you on the road toward breathing easier and clearer.
What Is A Sinus CT?
A sinus CT scan, also known as a sinus CT, is a diagnostic imaging study that uses digital X-rays and computer technology to produce detailed, cross-sectional images (slices) of your sinuses. Each slice is merged together with the assistance of computer technology to show various angles and views of your sinuses. These images allow doctors to visualize the structure and condition of your nasal passages, sinus cavities, and surrounding areas.
What Specialist Usually Recommends A Sinus CT?
Commonly, an otolaryngologist (ENT) specialist will recommend a Sinus CT. They may recommend it if you have been experiencing persistent or recurrent sinus issues, such as chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, or unexplained facial pain. By using the insights gained from a Sinus CT, they can determine the root cause of your symptoms and tailor a more effective treatment plan.
How Do I Prepare For A Sinus CT?
Preparing for a Sinus CT is relatively simple and straightforward. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions based on your medical history. However, here are general guidelines that will apply:
- Arrive at your appointment at least 15 minutes beforehand to review contact and medical information.
- Leave any jewelry or metal objects at home, as they may interfere with the imaging process.
- In some cases, your doctor may request you avoid eating or drinking for a certain time period leading up to your scan.
- Inform your doctor or our staff about any allergies, medical conditions, or medications you are currently taking.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, let your doctor know beforehand.
What Does A Sinus CT Detect?
A Sinus CT can detect various conditions and abnormalities affecting the nose and face. Here are some of the common medical conditions that your doctor may be trying to rule out:
- Sinusitis – inflammation or infection of the sinuses, whether acute or chronic
- Nasal Polyps – soft, noncancerous growths that can block nasal passages
- Deviated Septum – when the cartilage separating the nostrils is off-center, it can lead to breathing difficulties and recurrent sinus issues.
- Cysts – Fluid-filled sacs that can develop within the sinus cavities
- Tumors – Abnormal growths in the sinus area, which can be benign or malignant
- Bone Abnormalities – Such as fractures or other structural irregularities
How Long Is A Sinus CT?
The duration of a Sinus CT scan is relatively short, typically lasting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. The actual time may vary depending on the number of views requested by your doctor, the technology used, and whether contrast dye is used. Rest assured, the study is swift and painless.
Is A Sinus CT Painful?
One of the most common worries people have about an appointment is the level of discomfort involved. The good news is that a Sinus CT is entirely painless. You'll be asked to lie down on a table that slides into the CT machine. While the machine takes images, you may hear some whirring sounds, but there should be no pain or discomfort during the process. Afterward, you are allowed to return to your daily, normal routine.
Is A Sinus CT Covered By Insurance?
In most cases, a sinus CT is covered by health insurance, especially when deemed medically necessary by your doctor. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider beforehand to understand your coverage and any potential out-of-pocket expenses related to your appointment.
Where Can I Schedule A Sinus CT?
South Jersey Radiology Associates (SJRA) is in-network with 99% of health insurance plans for CT imaging and provides scans at up to 60% less than the cost of hospital-based imaging. SJRA offers same-day and next-day appointment options with many locations offering evening and weekend hours to fit your busy schedule.
Reach out to any of the following locations to schedule your appointment:
- Route 73 Office – Voorhees Township, NJ
- Greentree Office – Marlton, NJ
- Washington Township Office – Sewell, NJ
- Turnersville Office – Turnersville, NJ
- Voorhees Office – Voorhees Township, NJ
- West Deptford Office – West Deptford, NJ
Learn more about the board-certified, subspecialized radiologist who read and interpret studies at SJRA here.
Yes, a Sinus CT scan is considered very safe. The study uses X-rays, which do expose you to a small amount of radiation. However, the benefits of accurate diagnosis and treatment outweigh the minimal risks associated with radiation exposure. Rest assured that your doctor and our highly-trained staff will take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
In some cases, a contrast dye may be administered orally or intravenously to enhance the images and provide more detailed information to your doctor. If your doctor determines that contrast dye is necessary, they will inform you about the process and any potential side effects or risks associated with it.
In most cases, you can eat and drink normally before a sinus CT. However, if your doctor orders a sinus CT with contrast, you may be asked to fast for a few hours before your appointment. Follow the specific instructions provided by your doctor.
No, a Sinus CT scan is a painless and non-invasive study. You will be required to lie down on a table that moves into the CT machine for imaging. The process is quick, and you may hear some noise from the machine, but there should be no discomfort during the scan.
Pregnant women should avoid unnecessary radiation exposure. If you suspect you might be pregnant or know that you are pregnant, inform your doctor before the study. They will weigh the potential risks and benefits and determine whether the procedure can be postponed or if an alternative imaging technique is right for you.
The frequency of sinus CTs depends on your individual medical condition and the recommendations of your doctor. In most cases, these studies are not conducted regularly. They are typically ordered when you have persistent or recurring sinus issues or if there's a need to investigate a specific problem further.
Yes, children can undergo a sinus CT if their doctor deems it necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Pediatric CT scans use lower radiation doses to ensure the safety of young patients.
In most cases, a sinus CT is covered by health insurance, especially when it is deemed medically necessary by your doctor. However, it's essential to check with your insurance provider beforehand to understand your coverage and any potential out-of-pocket expenses.
Yes, having allergies or asthma should not prevent you from undergoing a Sinus CT scan. However, it's important to inform your doctor about any allergies or medical conditions you have before the study to ensure any necessary accommodations are made.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about the sinus CT, don't hesitate to discuss them with your doctor or our staff at South Jersey Radiology.