Low-Dose Computer Tomography (LDCT) is a unique CT scan technique that combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple, cross-sectional images or pictures of the inside of the body. LDCT produces images of sufficient quality to detect many abnormalities while using up to 90 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan.

Advanced Imaging Centers offers LDCT screenings for patients who meet specific criteria to enhance early detection of lung cancer and to reduce mortality among current and former smokers. Lung screening examinations are tests performed to find disease before symptoms begin, with a goal of detecting disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. Using LDCT scans to screen smokers for lung cancer reduces the risk of death by 20 percent versus those screened by a chest X-ray, according to a National Cancer Institute study. For high risk individuals, the benefits of early detection far exceed the risks of low-dose radiation.

Screening criteria

Low-Dose Lung Screening may be covered by insurance for patients who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Adult, age 55-77 (Non-Medicare 55-80)
  • Asymptomatic – no current respiratory or lung cancer symptoms
  • No personal history of lung cancer
  • Current smoker with minimum 30 pack-year history
  • Former smoker with minimum 30 pack-year history and quit within the past 15 years

Physician order and discussion

To participate in the screening, you must make an appointment with your primary care physician to have a Shared Decision Making session. Your physician will explain the risks and benefits of the study.

What to expect during the procedure

During the LDCT procedure, the patient will lie flat on the exam table. Pillows may be used for comfort to help maintain the correct position and to help the patient remain still during the exam. The patient will be asked to hold their arms over their head. Next, the table will move through the scanner to the correct starting position for the scans. While the patient holds their breath for five to ten seconds, the table will move through the machine as the LDCT scan is done.

Will my insurance cover the procedure?

LDCT screenings are covered under most insurance plans, Medicare or Medicare Advantage and typically do not require a co-pay. Check with your insurance provider to be sure. Patients must meet all of the screening criteria.