Knee CT Scan: Purpose, Risks and Results

A CT scan is a type of X-ray It shows cross-sectioned images of a specific area of our body parts. For example, a computed tomography (CT) scan of your knee would help physicians diagnose the disease or inspect your knee injuries. (1)

A CT scan runs around the body and sends pictures to a computer. These images are used to take detailed photos. This makes it possible for physician and qualified technicians to see the muscles, ligaments, vessels, tendon and bones. (2)

In some cases, a CT scan is also called a CAT scan. The examination is conducted in a hospital or specialist outpatient facility. (4)

Why Is a Knee CT Scan Done?

A CT scan gives your physician more detailed images of the inside of your knee than conventional X-rays. It provides your physician with an internal view of your knee without cutting or exploratory surgery. This may help your physician to better diagnose knee problems, which may include:

  • abscess
  • arthritis
  • bone fractured
  • torn ligaments
  • tendons
  • tumors
  • infection

The Risks of a Knee CT Scan

The risks associated with computed tomography are very low. From time to time, the dye used in the procedure may temporarily damage your kidneys. This risk is higher if your kidneys have been previously infected with a disease or infection. There are newer dyes that pose a significantly lower risk to the kidneys. (3)

Similar to X-rays, there is a certain amount of radiation exposure. It is such a low level that it is generally harmless. If you are or may be pregnant, seek medical attention. Any possible radiation exposure could affect the development of the fetus.

How to Prepare for a Knee CT Scan

Before you take the test, your physician will give you full instructions on preparing the knee CT scan.

In certain situations, your physician may use contrast dye. Contrast dye provides better images when responding with imaging equipment. If you have previously had an allergic reaction to similar dyes, talk to your physician before the test. The most commonly used colouring agent contains iodine, so tell your physician if you have an allergy to iodine.

If you receive dye, your physician may order you to avoid food and fluids for 4 to 6 hours prior to scanning.

You will also need to take off all your jewels and change into a hospital gown before the operation. The straps or bandages worn over your affected knee must be removed.

How a Knee CT Scan Is Performed

If your physician uses a contrast dye for the exam, you will receive the dye by intravenous route. This means a hospital staff will be injecting the contrast agent into one of your veins. You will generally need to wait an hour for the dye to spread in your body before the examination can begin.

The technician may ask you to be in a specific position while the test is taking place. They can use pillows or straps to ensure that you remain in the right position long enough to obtain a quality image. You may also need to hold your breath for a short time while performing specific scans. Talk to your physician first if you think it will be difficult to stay calm.

After several scans, You may have to wait some time while the technician examines the images to make sure they are clear enough to be read correctly by your physician.

A typical knee computed tomography scan lasts 30 to 45 minutes.

Following Up After the Knee CT Scan

After the test, you can go back to normal work.

If you have been given a contrast dye, you can drink additional liquids to help remove the dye from your system. Any traces of dye usually disappeared within 24 hours.

A knee CT scan results typically takes one day to complete. Your physician will set up a follow-up meeting to discuss this. Together, you can decide what to do based on the assessment of your knee CT scans.

Ear Examination: Procedure, Risks and Test Results

Acute Cholecystitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment