Dr. Grossan's Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant Pages

New Diagnostic Devices -CT


Sinus CT Scan

by Dr. Murray Grossan, M. D., noted ear, nose, and throat specialist and leading author.


Doctors now have incredible diagnostic power - right in the office- that was barely dreamt of in hospitals 10 or 15 years ago. Even though we cannot objectively measure symptoms like tinnitus and pain, we can image or measure sinus disease, hearing, and throat disorders. It is a distinct advantage to be able to say exactly which areas of the body has an infection or problem. Thus, we have strobes to record voice problems, cultures to identify organisms and what they are sensitive to. We also have measurements to check function, for example, measuring hearing tells me if the treatment is working. We are approaching the ability to record every area as we look at the nose, throat and ears. Our newest diagnostic tool is a CT (computer assisted tomography) scanner, an "instant", digital, 3-D X ray!

We use a Xoran Mini CT Scanner for sinus, ear, and TMJ visualization. What do we mean by visualization? With the digital pictures we get from the machine, we can scan the areas in side the body in 3 D in to seek out disease.

Sinus CT Scan at My Office, Tower ENT, Los Angeles

Convenience for Patient: Nearly as important as the diagnostic capabilities of scanning, there is an enormous increase in convenience for the patient over older methods. In one visit, in less than 10 minutes, the digital image is taken and can be shown to the patient. Not only does he save two additional days of going to an X ray office, and then returning another day for viewing his films, but this means he doesn't have to fill out another set of forms at the X ray office.

No Time Wasted in Treatment: Most important, however, is that one of our 5 specialists gets a 3-D picture of the sinus or ear at the very first visit, so we can plan our treatment accordingly. No time is wasted waiting for X rays. Today this is especially important because we know that even a badly diseased sinus can be healed if the "natural drain" is opened and the cilia that drain the sinus cavity are restored. This means that many sinus problems can be relieved by pulsatile irrigation and may not need a lengthy course of drugs. Or, the CT may show a severe anatomical problem that may require surgically correcting the problem. In all these cases, treatment is started immediately, based on these findings and the patient can start therapy at his first visit, instead of waiting days till the outside films are ready.

Our patients are quite pleased that the technology of the Xoran Mini CT scanner permits a minimum amount of radiation, almost 1/10 that of the older table analog scanners. Because the patient can sit comfortably, and is not enclosed or tied down, it is no more difficult for a patient to have a sinus CT than to have a dental X-ray.

This technology has paid off in many ways. For example, consider a patient that says she has bad sinus disease, but her CT scan shows that her sinuses are perfectly clear. The correct conclusion is that that she has allergies! Now the doctor knows to treat for allergy, and time and money is not wasted prescribing antibiotic. (Further, unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions lead to antibiotic resistant bugs; this is a serious problem that CT scans might help us deal with in this way.)

Consider another patient that was leaving in 4 days for an extended scuba diving trip, and just wanted some decongestant to be sure he could clear his ears when diving. An immediate CT scan showed sinus infection with swelling that blocked his ears. I was able to prescribe the right therapy for him, thereby saving him from an otherwise miserable trip.

My office, Tower ENT, is located in Los Angeles. We get many patients from out of town, and do our best to accommodate their needs. At the patent's request, we have happy to give a CD with the digital images on it. This is a big advantage for the out-of-town patients who may see other doctors later, as they just give their disk to the next doctor, they don't have to lug large envelopes with heavy X-rays on their trips back home.

Tower ENT is located at 8631 W 3rd Street, Suite 440 Los Angeles, Ca 90048 next to Cedars Sinai Hospital. By appointment only, call 310 659 1006. Currently, I am not in the office on Mondays.


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Last Update 2006 July 24
Murray Grossan M.D.