-Michael Sillers, MD
Access to CT scanners varies from institution to institution. At the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Head and Neck Institute, for instance, Martin J. Citardi, MD, Section Head for Nasal and Sinus Disorders, stated that access to CT scans for his otolaryngology patients is a non-issue. We are an integrated health care system, and patients can be scanned in a Cleveland Clinic scanner easily. We can also easily view image data sent to us via the computer network.
For many solo and multispecialty practices in the private sector, it’s a different story. In addition to convenience and cost savings for the patient, an in-office CT scan offers treatment advantages, according to Dr. Sillers. Otolaryngologists may often begin a course of medical therapy for patients when waiting to review an off-site CT scan. With point-of-service scanning, noted Dr. Sillers, you do not have to delay treatment or subject your patients to unnecessary treatment.
-Martin J. Citardi, MD
Another plus of the compact scanners is that the cone beam technology also delivers a low radiation dose. This is particularly important with pediatric patients, because it helps to reduce cumulative radiation dose over a patient’s lifetime. Dr. Citardi cautioned that even though office-based scanners provide images of sufficient quality for most indications in otolaryngology, they are not equivalent to facility-based CT scanners, which still offer better image quality in general. Also, offices will not perform CT scans with IV contrast, but IV contrast is required for certain types of scans, including neck CTs and any scan done for the evaluation of a neoplasm.