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CT Scanner – Usage & Functionality

How do doctors use CT scanners in clinic?

CT stands for computed tomography and is also known as a CAT scan. A CT scan is a diagnostic medical examination which takes multiple pictures of the inside of your body, much like other x-rays. The cross sectional images that can be taken with a CT scan can be reformatted into multiple planes, and 3D images can even be created. They can be viewed by monitors and even transferred to disks. CT scans are used in place of x-rays because more detail can be seen within the layers. This is especially true for soft tissues and blood vessels.

What are the Common Uses of CT Scans?

  • CT scans are the most accurate and the fastest when it comes to examining and diagnosing ailments of the pelvis, chest, and abdomen.
  • Used to evaluate patients with trauma injuries
  • Used to evaluate acute symptoms such as difficult breathing or chest pains
  • Often the best method for detecting many different types of cancers
  • Plays a key role in detecting vascular diseases and blood clots
  • A priceless tool in diagnosing damage to the spinal cord, hands and feet, and other skeletal issues due to the fact that it can show even tiny bones and how they are interacting with surrounding tissues
  • CT Scanners are also used to assess any damage that may have been caused after a surgery, or simply to make sure no damage was done

 

How Does a CT Scan Work?

CT scans for the most part work like any other x-ray machines. Different body parts absorb the x-rays in varying degrees. It is this difference in the rate of absorption that allows the different parts to be distinguished from one another.

In an ordinary x-ray exam, a small amount of radiation is passed through the part of the body that is under examination, recording an image of that body part on a special eletronic image plate. Bones will appear white, soft tissues will appear grey, and air will appear black

With CT Scans many x-ray beams and a set of electronic x-ray machines rotate around your entire body. These measure the amount of radiation that passes through your body. Sometimes the table will also move to allow the x-ray beams to follow a spiral like path. A computer programme then takes data from this and processes it, resulting in two-dimentional cross sections of the body, which are displayed on the monitor. The images of the body are slices that are layered on top of one another.

There now CT Scanners that can take multiple sliced images with each single rotation. These machines are called multislice CT or multidetector CT scanners. Their improvements mean that more images can be taken, and greater detailed obtained from these images. The most moden machines can take a full scan of the body in only second, and this speed is crucial for the very young and the very old alike, who both find it difficult staying still for very long.

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