A CT scan is a medical imaging study, in which, with the aid of X-rays and computer calculations, a cross-section is made of the part of the body that needs to be examined. A CT scan is best suited to create images of bones, brains, lungs, abdominal organs and veins.


Indication

With a CT scan, the doctor is able to detect or get a better picture of defects in the blood vessels (such as atherosclerosis), cerebral infarctions, tumors and fractures.


Working

The scan is made in a CT scanner, a tunnel-shaped X-ray device. In the tunnel is a ring, which rotates around the part of the body to be examined. Out of this ring comes an X-ray beam, which makes a new scan every few millimeters. It continues to do this until the entire study area has been photographed. The permeability of the examined body part for the used radiation is measured from a large number of angles around in thin ‘slices’. From the results, a computer builds a three-dimensional representation of the examined body part.


Procedure

The patient is lying on an elongated treatment table and must remain as still as possible. Sometimes, a CT is made with contrast fluid. This fluid can be used to make clearer images of certain parts of the body (such as heart and blood vessels). Creating the scans is totally painless. The examination will take half an hour to an hour.


Facts


Synonyms

Computer Tomography (CT), X-ray Computed Tomography (X-ray CT), Computerized Axial Tomography Scan (CAT Scan)


See also

Atherosclerosis

Cancer

Cerebral Infarction

Radiography

Radiology

CT Scan

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