What Is A CT Scan?

A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a diagnostic imaging technique used to produce detailed pictures of the bones, organs, and other tissues. A computed tomography scan can be performed on any part of the body and does not cause pain or discomfort. CT scans provide more detailed pictures of the structures inside of a patient’s body than a standard x-ray would. Computerized tomography scans do not produce as much detail as MRI scans, but they are less expensive to perform and used more often than MRI scans. A CT scan uses a large doughnut-shaped machine the patient slides into on a special table. The computerized tomography machine has a much larger opening and is not as deep as an MRI machine, making sedation less necessary for some patients.

Get the full details on CT scans now.

How The Scan Works

Dreamstime

Computerized tomography scans make two-dimensional pictures of a section of a patient’s body. This scan uses numerous narrow beams of radiation that are sent through a patient’s body in an arc shape. This allows for a collection of x-rays of the body to be taken from different angles. The x-ray apparatus inside of a CT scanner can see hundreds of degrees of tissue density, giving it the ability to form details specific to certain tissues within an organ. The cross-sectional x-rays are compiled and built into a two or three-dimensional representation of the body that is then projected onto a monitor. Computerized tomography scans have improved significantly since their debut in the 1970s. CT scanners can be found in outpatient facilities as well as hospitals. A CT scan can help clarify an abnormality in a patient’s body another test has picked up, such as an ultrasound or an x-ray.

Learn more about when computerized tomography scans are used next.