There uroCT it is the CT scan with contrast medium that allows you to analyze in detail the anatomy and function of the most important components of the urinary system, namely: the kidneys, the bladder and the ureters.
Thanks to the potential of uroCT, the radiologist is able to identify: renal stones, bladder stones, urinary tract infections, cysts and tumors of one of the organs of the urinary tract, anatomical malformations of the kidneys, ureters or bladder and, finally, the exact origin of symptoms for which a kidney or bladder disorder is suspected.
The uroCT requires very specific preparation; complete fasting is also included among its preparatory rules.
Lasting a total of 10-15 minutes, the uroCT requires maximum immobility on the part of the patient; body movements, in fact, can alter the accuracy of the images provided by the instrument, therefore distorting the entire diagnostic test.
The risks of uroCT are connected to the dose of ionizing radiation, to which the patient is exposed during the examination, and to the contrast medium, which in some individuals causes an allergic reaction.
Contraindicated in cases of pregnancy, uroCT provides excellent quality images of the urinary tract.
Brief Review Of What A Ct Scan Is
There CT scan or Computerized Axial Tomography is a diagnostic procedure that exploits the ionizing radiations (X-rays), to create extremely detailed three-dimensional images of specific anatomical areas of the organism (brain, bones, blood vessels, abdominal organs, thoracic organs, respiratory tracts, etc.).
The CT equipment includes:
- The large donut-shaped scanning unit, called gantry. It is the source of ionizing radiation (X-rays);
- The generator;
- The support on which to position the patient. Typically, it is a sliding bed;
- An electronic computer;
- A command console for viewing three-dimensional images;
- A system for recording the acquired data.
In addition to Conventional CT scan (or classic) also exists CT scan with contrast medium which allows you to obtain images richer in details of a specific organ or anatomical tissue.
The CT scan is usually painless; it may be slightly painful when the intravenous injection of the contrast medium is scheduled.
Nonetheless, it still falls among the minimally invasive procedures, as the dose of ionizing radiation to which the patient is exposed is considerable.
What Is Uroct?
There uroCT it is the diagnostic test that exploits the potential of CT scan with contrast medium to view the urinary system, in particular i kidneys the bladder they ureters.
Similar to urography – but not exactly the same thing – uroCT is a procedure Radiology just like other types of CT scans.
The interpretation of the uroCT images is the responsibility of a radiologist doctor who, if necessary, will advise the patient to discuss what has emerged with a urinary tract specialist (a nephrologist or a urologist).
The Urinary System
The urinary system, or excretory system includes the kidneys and the so-called urinary tract pathways composed of the bladder, ureters and urethra.
- The kidneys are the main organs of the excretory system. Two in number, they reside in the abdominal cavity, on the sides of the last thoracic vertebrae and the first lumbar vertebrae, they are symmetrical and have a shape that resembles that of a bean.
- Two in number, the ureters are the ducts that connect the kidneys to the bladder. For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that each ureter is independent of the other.
- The bladder is a small hollow muscular organ, which stores urine before urination.
- The urethra is the duct that serves to conduct urine outside. In men, it passes through the penis; in women, it is longer and shorter and ends at the level of the vulva.
The Contrast Medium For Uroct
Typically, the contrast medium used for uroCT is based on iodine.
Iodine-based contrast agents are also called iodinated contrast media.
Alternative Ways Of Writing UroTAC
There are several ways to write uroTAC, including uro-CT, uroTac And uro-Tac.
First, at the invitation of a member of the medical staff, the patient must:
- Answer a questionnaire regarding your medical history,
- Have your blood pressure and body temperature measured,
- Wear a special gown instead of his clothes and, finally,
- Remove any jewelery and other metal objects you are wearing, for the reasons stated previously.
Once all these operations have been completed, the patient is ready to take his place on the sliding uroCT table, which serves, at a later time, to position him inside the so-called gantry (see figure).
To position himself correctly on the table, the patient can count on the help of a member of the medical staff (generally the same one who previously questioned him about his medical history, measured his blood pressure and temperature, etc.); during his placement, those who help him also remind him how he must “behave” during the exam and the importance of his immobility when the instrument is operating.
Once the patient is lying on their back or side and ready to be introduced into the gantry intervenes radiologist doctor who, with the collaboration of a professional nurse, performs the injection of the contrast medium necessary for uroCT.
The injection of the contrast medium usually takes place in one vein in the arm or hand; the contrast medium takes a few minutes to distribute, through the blood, in the various anatomical compartments to be analysed.
Once the time necessary for the contrast medium to reach the urinary tract has passed, the patient can finally be introduced into it gantry and the phase dedicated to the creation of three-dimensional images begins.
The creation of images is very noisy, so much so that often, together with the gown, the medical staff also provides the patient with earplugs or headphones, to wear before injecting the contrast medium.
Please remember that, while the instrument is in operation, the entire medical staff leaves the room where the patient and equipment reside and moves to an adjacent room, where there is the control console of the gantry and the system for recording the acquired data. However, the patient is not really alone: the room in which he is, in fact, is equipped with a speaker and a camera, through which he can communicate with the outside in case of sudden needs.
Once the collection of the images necessary for a detailed evaluation of the urinary system has been completed, the radiologist declares the uroCT to be complete and begins the operations to extract the patient from the gantry extraction which is carried out by the “usual” member of the medical staff who has already intervened several times in the previous phases.
Having gotten up from the bed and dressed, the patient is ready to return home and to his daily activities, unless otherwise indicated by the radiologist.
What Sensations Does The Patient Experience During The Procedure?
The patient may experience some sort of nuisance at the moment of insertion of the needle, for the injection of the contrast medium.
Furthermore, after the injection, it is very likely that, for a couple of minutes, you will feel one strange metallic taste in mouth.
Patients who have difficulty remaining still may feel uncomfortable after a short time; however, immobility is a fundamental condition for the success of the exam.
Important note on the immobility that the patient must adhere to: in some phases of the uroCT, immobility also includes holding the breath for a few seconds, as even the slightest movements resulting from the respiratory act can distort the results.
Clearly, it is the medical staff who indicates to the patient when to hold his breath, through the communication system present inside the room where the exam is held.
How Long Does Uroct Last?
Typically, uroCT lasts 10-15 minutes to the utmost.
On What Occasions Does The Patient Have To Wait Before Returning Home?
The radiologist may ask the patient to stay further in the hospital centre, where the uroCT was performed, if the exam provided such unclear images that it was essential to repeat the entire procedure.
How To Facilitate The Elimination Of The Contrast Medium At The End Of The UroCT Scan
To facilitate the elimination of the contrast medium from the body, radiologists recommend: drink a lot of water starting immediately after the uroCT is performed.
If the patient follows this indication, he eliminates the contrast medium from his body within 24 hours.