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CT of the Lower Extremities

(Hip, Knee, Ankle, & Foot)

A CT of the Lower Extremities is a noninvasive medical scan that uses special equipment to obtain multiple images of the lower extremities (hip, knee, ankle, & foot). These CT images are far more detailed than those obtained from conventional x-rays. The scan also is used as a diagnostic tool because of its ability to display different types of tissue in the same region, including bone, muscle, soft tissue, and blood vessels.

CT scanning of the Lower Extremities may be recommended to evaluate:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Trauma
  • A known mass
  • A questionable fracture in any part of the lower extremity

A CT of the Lower Extremities requires you to lie flat on your back. If contrast material is used, it will be swallowed, injected through an intravenous line (IV) or administered by enema, depending on the type of examination. A rotating device spins around your body creating a beam of x-rays. A detector takes snapshots of the beam after it passes through your body and a powerful computer program then processes the images and displays them in different ways for examination. The technician will communicate with you throughout the procedure, but will need to leave the room briefly to run the computer. The scan will take about 30 minutes.

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