Woman going into CT machine for imaging

A CT scan of the sinus cavities uses special X-ray equipment to examine the cavities within the bones surrounding the nasal cavity, known as paranasal sinuses. In addition to being painless and noninvasive, CT scanning is also accurate. It not only serves as the best method of determining if the sinuses are obstructed but also the best method of determining whether sinusitis is present.

What to Expect During a Sinus CT Scan

The scan takes around 15 minutes. You'll lie on a metal bed while the CT machine moves around your head. The technician injects dye for a sinus CT scan with contrast to enhance the results.

An X-ray beam rotates around your head and face throughout a sinus CT scan to obtain a comprehensive view. Since the scanner is close to your face, you must remain motionless during the scan. You may prefer to close your eyes during the scan, which is entirely painless.

After your sinus CT scan, drink 6-8 cups of water if it was done with contrast (your physician will let you know, as well).

In a sinus CT scan, only your sinus spaces are shown, not your eyes, teeth, ears, or brain. Your doctor will contact you within a week to discuss treatment options after receiving your results. CT scans are the most accurate for sinus evaluations.

Sinus CT (Computed Tomography): What is it?

CT scans or CAT scans are diagnostic imaging tests known as computed tomography. Multiple images are produced, just like standard X-rays.

Images generated by a CT scan can be formatted in multiple planes, and three-dimensional images can be generated. They can be shown on a computer screen, printed on film, or relocated to a DVD or CD by your doctor.

Images taken with computed tomography (CT) provide greater detail than images taken with an X-ray, particularly regarding soft tissues and blood vessels.

During a CT scan, the paranasal sinus cavities can also be seen. Within each bone of the face and surrounding the nasal cavity, the paranasal sinuses are hollow, air-filled spaces, and they are connected to the back of the throat by air channels. The nasal cavity is divided into four pairs of sinuses, each connected by a small opening.

If you have concerns about polyps in your nasal cavity, a CT scan can effectively detect them. The scan can reveal cloudy spots, which may signify the presence of polyps. Additionally, it's essential to know that older polyps could have caused bone damage in your sinuses. In addition to this condition, a CT scan may be used to diagnose or detect the following:

  • Sinus congenital disabilities.
  • A sinus infection (osteomyelitis)
  • Face injury caused by trauma over the sinuses.
  • A mass or tumor, including a cancerous one.
  • Epistaxis (repeated bloody noses)
  • Infection of the sinuses (sinusitis)

How to Prepare for a Sinus CT Scan: Tips and Advice

Having a restful night's sleep is essential to ensure accurate results during your sinus CT scan. 

Refraining from eating for 4 hours before your sinus CT scan with contrast is crucial. It is advisable to steer clear of toothpaste, as this could impact the accuracy of the results. Be sure to adhere closely to the instructions provided by your doctor.

To ensure precise results, consuming clear liquids before your scan is best. Maintaining your routine and avoiding heavy or oily foods is essential if you choose to eat beforehand.
Arrive 10-15 mins early for your appointment. Avoid wearing jewelry or metal objects on your head.

Please avoid wearing cosmetic products, lotions, creams, or deodorants that contain metal particles for your appointment. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended. If you wear a lot of metal, you may need to wear a hospital gown.

What is the Takeaway? 

At South Florida ENT Associates, the advanced CT technology allows our highly-trained ENT Specialists to detect potentially problematic areas. By illuminating any growth's size, position, and shape, sinusitis can easily be identified, allowing us to give you the best possible treatment. We deliver results you can count on! Request an appointment today.

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