CT elbow is a radiological technique based on layer-by-layer scanning of anatomical structures forming the joint and subsequent computer analysis of tomograms. The images show the articulation area of the humerus, ulna and radius, including adjacent soft tissues (articular cartilage, synovial membrane, ligaments, muscles). The study can be contrast-free and contrast-free. CT of the joint is prescribed as part of the diagnosis of inflammatory lesions (arthritis, bursitis, osteomyelitis), degenerative changes, intra-articular fractures, volumetric formations, free fluid and foreign bodies in the joint cavity.
CT elbow allows you to visualize bone elements and soft tissues (when using contrast). The study is prescribed for traumatic injuries, indications for scanning are dislocations, fractures and fractures of the articular ends of the humerus, ulna and radius bones. The technique is used to identify fragments in order to clarify their localization, severity and direction of displacement. Scanning is used for elbow joint contractures of traumatic and non-traumatic origin to assess pathological changes and determine subsequent treatment tactics.
The procedure is also used during preoperative preparation or after a surgical intervention to assess its effectiveness. CT is prescribed to patients with suspected malignant and benign tumors. The technique allows you to visualize neoplasms at the earliest stages of development. Computer scanning is carried out to detect inflammatory and purulent diseases – arthritis, epicondylitis, bursitis, osteomyelitis, is effective for detecting diffuse pathologies of connective tissue, is performed for rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, gout. The procedure is used in the process of diagnosing congenital anomalies.
CT elbow is contraindicated during pregnancy. During lactation, a diagnostic procedure with the introduction of contrast is allowed, provided that breastfeeding is excluded for a period of 2 days. It is not recommended to scan children under 14 years of age. CT with contrast is not prescribed to patients with severe renal insufficiency, if they are allergic to iodine-containing drugs. The limitation to the study is the patient’s weight of 120-200 kg, depending on the technical characteristics of the device. A relative contraindication is the inability of the patient to maintain a stationary position for a long time with intense pain syndrome, mental disorders, neurological diseases with hyperkinesis. In such cases, sedatives may be used during the procedure.
CT elbow is prescribed if ultrasound scanning or radiography were not informative enough. With a native study, special training on the part of the patient is not required. If a scan is performed using contrast enhancement, 5-6 hours before the start of the procedure, you need to refuse to eat. Immediately before the CT scan, it is necessary to remove all metal accessories, electronic devices, removable dentures. You should wear cotton underwear or a disposable medical gown.
Methodology of conducting
CT elbow is a non-invasive and painless method. The patient is placed on a special table, which moves into the ring of the tomograph. In contrast examination, the drug is administered before starting the device. During the procedure, a tube that emits X-rays rotates around the patient’s body. It is necessary to remain motionless so that the pictures are as clear as possible. Scanning without contrast takes about 5 minutes, when using contrast enhancement, the CT duration increases to 15-20 minutes.
On the basis of tomographic scans, the radiologist prepares a conclusion on the state of bone structures and soft tissues. The document also records inflammatory changes, violations of the integrity of anatomical elements. With contrast scanning, a conclusion is made about the blood supply to the area under study. You can get the results on the same day a few hours after the procedure. The patient is given a written opinion and images on paper, the documentation must be submitted to the attending physician for an accurate diagnosis.
In comparison with a standard X-ray examination, with CT elbow, the body is exposed to minimal radiation, however, experts do not recommend scanning more than 2-3 times a year. CT results are similar to MRI (in both cases, a large number of layered images are formed), but MRI uses a magnetic field and electromagnetic waves that are harmless to humans, so such manipulation can be repeated many times. The choice between MRI and CT elbow is made by the doctor depending on which structures need to be visualized. Computed tomography is preferable when it is necessary to assess the condition of bone tissues, whereas magnetic resonance scanning provides comprehensive information about soft tissue structures.