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What Is a “CT” Scan?

A CT scan, also known as computed tomography scan, makes use of X-rays to take measurements from different angles to produce computer-processed cross-sectional images of bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan images provide more detailed information than standard radiography X-rays, as they create a 3-dimensional image from the different angles. The scan will help determine the size, shape, and depth of the injury and show cause as in a misalignment, break, or possible disease. These images can help your doctor prescribe treatment for injuries like car accidents or other types of trauma.

Woman lying in front of CAT scan machine

In the late 1950s, Allan Cormack developed the methods of calculation that would one day aid in a basis for gathering three-dimensional images from cross-sectional X-rays. During the 1960s, Godfrey Hounsfield developed an apparatus in which clusters of X-ray beams sent through the body from different angles are registered. CT was invented in 1972 by the joint efforts of these two men.

CT scanners first began to be utilized in 1974. The original systems were dedicated to head imaging alone, but whole body systems soon became available in 1976. For their work, Hounsfield and Cormack were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1979.

Improvements in CT scanning in speed, resolution, and patient comfort have led to higher-resolution images, which assist doctors in making diagnoses. As CT scan times have gotten faster, more anatomy can be scanned in less time. A CT scan can help doctors see small nodules or tumors, which they cannot see with plain film X-ray.

Reading The Scan

CT scanning is fast, painless, noninvasive and accurate.
Other terms include computed axial tomography (CAT scan) and computer aided tomography.

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