A chest CT uses X-rays to capture horizontal and vertical images of structures in the chest with emphasis on the lungs. These images are processed and combined by a computer to create detailed 3-D images that our radiologist can use to view organs of interest from different angles. The images taken with computed tomography are significantly more detailed than traditional X-rays and are particularly helpful for screening and diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest stage.
Reasons for a Chest CT scan
Your doctor may order a chest CT scan to examine your lungs or to investigate symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain. This exam can also help identify various lung diseases, such as:
- Pneumonia, including tuberculosis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Benign or malignant tumors
- Reduced blood flow or blockage in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
Low-Dose Lung CT Scan
Insight Medical Imaging also provides a special type of chest CT scan for patients who have a history of smoking and are concerned about lung cancer. This scan is referred to as a low-dose lung CT scan and is a preventative screening exam that uses less radiation than a traditional chest CT.
People between the ages of 55 and 80 who smoke heavily and are still smoking or have quit in the last 15 years should talk to their doctor. Discuss your history, how many cigarettes you smoke a day, how long you have smoked, and your age. Together, you can decide if a low-dose CT scan makes sense for you.
During a chest CT scan, you will be moved into the scanner feet-first, on your back.
Alberta Health Services does not cover private CT scans of the chest outside of the hospital. The cost of a chest CT scan at Insight Medical Imaging ranges from $550 to $800, depending on the need for contrast.
The need for contrast is determined by the radiologist at the time of imaging and is impacted by specific patient history. If the radiologist feels contrast is required for a proper diagnosis, your chest CT will cost $800. If contrast is not required, your CT will cost $550.
A chest CT scan lasts approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Being prepared for your CT exam helps us take the best possible images for diagnosis. Please visit our exam prep page for more instructions specific to chest CT scan preparation.