Medical Imaging: CT and CAT scan

Computed tomography/computerized axial tomography

patient undergoes ct scan

A computed tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan is a special type of x-ray that can produce detailed pictures of structures inside your body.  A CT scanner works by directing a series of x-rays through your body to produce a detailed picture or a "slice" of the area being studied.

Each x-ray pulse lasts only a fraction of a second, and it takes only a few seconds for the machine to record many images.

Why is it done?

A CT scan is used to obtain information about many parts of the body, including:

  • Most organs (liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs, or heart)
  • Blood vessels
  • Abdominal cavity
  • Bones (particularly the spine) and the spinal cord