The pancreas is a prolonged, tapered organ about 6 inches long. It is located behind the stomach and across the back of the abdomen. The right side of the organ, which is the head, is its widest part and lies in the curve of the duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestine. The tapered left side, called the body of the pancreas, extends slightly upward and ends (the tail) near the spleen in the upper left part of the abdomen.
Made up of 2 types of glands, the pancreas consist:
- Exocrine gland: This is the pancreatic gland that secretes digestive enzymes into the duodenum. These enzymes are secreted into a network of ducts that are connected to the main pancreatic duct, which runs through the length of the pancreas. Upon secretion, these enzymes travel down the pancreatic duct into the bile duct in an inactive form. However, as soon as they enter the duodenum, they become activated.
These enzymes help break down the carbohydrates, proteins, acids, and fats in the duodenum. The tissue in the exocrine gland also secretes bicarbonate to neutralize the stomach acid in the duodenum
- Endocrine gland: This is the pancreatic gland that secretes hormones (such as glucagon, insulin and somatostatin) into the bloodstream. It also the gland that consists of the islets of Langerhans.
Insulin and glucagon play a significant role in the regulation of the level of glucose in the blood). While somatostatin prevents the release of the other two hormones.
- Computed tomography (or CT, as it’s shortly referred to) scan is a non-invasive imaging technique utilizing a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal or axial images (referred to as slices) of the body. The X-ray beam of a CT moves in a circular fashion around the body. By so doing, many different views of the same organ or structure can be seen. The information gathered by the X-ray is then sent to a computer that interprets it and displays it in a two-dimensional (2D) form on a computer monitor. A CT scan shows detailed slices of any part of the body it is used on, such as the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
- Pancreatic protocol CT scan often provides more detailed information about the pancreas than standard X-rays of the abdomen. Hence, providing more and detailed information related to injuries and/or diseases of the pancreas. CT pancreas protocol scans are very useful in the diagnosis of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
According to a new study published in Academic Radiology, following a patient-specific contrast media protocol during CT pancreas protocol can enhance image quality, reduce contrast volume and reduce radiation dose. The decrease in radiation is noteworthy, because improvement in image quality often mean an increased radiation dose.
Why you may be required to carry out a CT pancreas protocol?
A CT pancreas protocol scan may be performed to evaluate the pancreas for tumours and other lesions, abscesses, bleeding, obstructions, unexplained abdominal pain, injuries, infections, or any other condition. It is usually recommended when previous diagnostic procedure such as X-rays or physical examination is inconclusive. A CT pancreas protocol scan may also be used to distinguish between pancreas disorders and retroperitoneum (the back portion of the abdomen behind the peritoneal membrane) disorders.
A CT pancreas protocol scan is also used to diagnose pancreatic cancer. There are also may be other reasons a doctor may recommend a pancreatic protocol CT scan.
Pre CT pancreas protocol preparation
The doctor to carry out the procedure will give you detailed information and instructions on what is required of you to do before the CT pancreas protocol.
- CT Pancreas Protocol
The first thing is to get you properly positioned. You would be made to lie down on your back on the machine couch. Once you have been gotten into the right position, the doctor leaves the room to protect him/herself from the radiation. You will be monitored on a screen or through the window from the control room. You will communicate with each other through an intercom.
The procedure starts with the couch sliding slowly backward and forwards through the hole of the scanner. As it does this, the machine takes pictures. The whole procedure for CT pancreas protocol scan is painless but can be uncomfortable because you have to stay still while it lasts. You can, however, talk to the doctor in charge if you feel the discomfort is too much. As you CT pancreas protocol continues, you will hear a whirring noise from the scanner, and you may be asked to hold your breath at times.
When the CT pancreas protocol is over, the doctor comes back into the room and lowers the couch for you to get up.
Exposure to radiation during a CT pancreas protocol can to some extent increase the risk of developing cancer in the future. Talk to the doctor in charge about your chances and if you feel worried by this