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Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides CTA imaging on the Mass General main campus and at several convenient community locations. No matter which facility you come to, our staff places priority on making your journey through the imaging process comfortable, safe, and successful. All images are read by a radiologist with specialty expertise in the area of the body being studied.
In addition to CT, doctors can perform angiography using two other imaging methods. In catheter angiography, live video from a special type of X-ray machine helps the doctor to guide a thin tube to the area of interest and inject the contrast material. MR angiography uses MRI technology and, in some cases, does not require the use of contrast.
CTA in depth
What is a CTA scan?
A CT (computed tomography) scan is a noninvasive medical test that uses special X-ray equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body and a computer to join them together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied. CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity than conventional X-ray exams.
A CT angiography (CTA) scan is a special kind of CT exam that focuses particularly on the blood vessels, using a contrast material to make them show up clearly in the images.
CTA is used to examine blood vessels in areas including the brain, neck, chest and abdomen. Conditions that the exam can reveal include aneurysms and narrowing of the arteries.
CT examinations improve health care and are an essential part of diagnosis and treatment planning. However, there are some risks associated with the level of radiation exposure during a CT and therefore the medical benefit of conducting the exam should always outweigh any risks involved. No direct data have shown that CT examinations are associated with an increased risk of cancer; extrapolations from studies of radiation exposure suggest there is a very small incremental risk.
At Mass General Imaging, we pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure—without giving up image quality. Radiation reduction has long been a priority for our entire staff, including radiologists, the technologists who administer most exams, researchers, and equipment engineers. We use many strategies to reduce radiation exposure, from employing the latest technology to customizing exams for each patient.
What should I expect BEFORE my CTA scan?
What will I experience DURING my CT scan?
What should I expect AFTER my CTA scan?
Dr. James H. Thrall, Department of Radiology chairman emeritus, discusses The Webster Center for Advanced Research and Education in Radiation, a unique research effort dedicated to reducing radiation dose for every exam Mass General Imaging performs.
As CT (computed tomography) technology has transformed the practice of medicine, Mass General Imaging has dedicated itself to making sure each exam exposes the patient to the lowest achievable amount of radiation. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, discusses our decade-long commitment—and our success—regarding this issue.
One effective way to reduce radiation exposure is to avoid unnecessary exams. That's why Mass General Imaging has been a leader in developing software tools that guide referring physicians by not only making sure the selected exam matches the patient's needs but also suggesting radiation-free alternatives when appropriate.
Each radiologist at Mass General Imaging is a specialist in a particular area of the body. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how patients benefit from the additional specialty training our physicians have completed.
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