Computed Tomographs (CT Scans)

Computed Tomographs (called CT scans)

Computed axial tomographic scanning, called CT or CAT scanning, couples X-rays with a powerful computer. The resulting images give us a very clear look at body structures from a different perspective than standard radiographs.

Imagine slicing a carrot into many circular or coin shaped pieces. If you pick up one of the pieces, you are able to look at the inside of the carrot in a way not previously possible. This is called a cross sectional view. The CT scan does the same thing for us with human structures. The good news is that no real slicing needs to occur. The X-rays and computer takes care of that for us.

With this procedure cross sectional images can be made of virtually any part of the body. This type of scanning revolutionized our ability to image body parts and the scanners keep getting better and better.

Like standard X-rays, CT scans don't hurt. Sometimes the machines are a bit loud and some patients feel a bit cramped, but overall the experience is well tolerated.

CT scan of the chest (thorax) from above; white areas are bones (vertebra, shoulder blades[scapulae], ribs and breastbone [sternum]; two dark circles are the lungs