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COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT)

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Image by National Cancer Institute

ABOUT CT

Computed tomography (CT or CAT Scan) combines a computer with x-ray to produce images of detailed cross-sectional slices of the body.

The CT scanner uses a motorized x-ray tube that rotates around the patient, delivering narrow beams of x-rays through the body as the table slides into the scanner. Sited opposite the x-ray source are special digital detectors to pick the x-rays and transmit them to a computer.

The CT computer constructs two-dimensional image slices from the x-ray scans of the patient. The x-ray scanning process is repeated till the desired number of slices is completed. Image slices can be viewed individually or stacked by the computer to generate 3D images that help show abnormalities your doctor is trying to identify in a particular region of the body. CT has many advantages, as physicians can rotate the 3D images in space to view slices, enabling them to locate the problem more accurately and easily.

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Your doctor may order a CT Scan for many reasons such as:

  • Enabling diagnosis by checking for diseases or injuries in bones, joints and elsewhere eg tumors or fractures

  • Locate an injury, tumor, infection or blood clot

  • Detect and monitor changes in conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung nodules and liver masses

  • Guide procedures like biopsies, surgery and radiation therapy

  • Monitor if certain treatments are working, eg whether a tumor is responding better to chemotherapy or radiation, with successive CT scans.

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WHAT
IS

CT
FOR?