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A CAT Scan or computed tomography (CT), is a medical imaging method which produces a volume of data that can be manipulated (through a process known as windowing) to demonstrate various bodily structures based on their ability to block the X-ray beam. A CAT is created by combining a series of X-ray views taken from different angles. Modern scanners allow for 3-D representations of structures.

CT scans show bones and soft tissues inside the body. Medical professionals can view the images individually or as an entire view in 3D. This type of technology is extremely valuable to doctors needing to make decisions very quickly.


CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography)

A CAT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography), also referred to as a CT scan, is a computerized X-ray procedure. This provides a three-dimensional scan of the brain and other parts of the body and is used to find irregularities. This technology can be used to help guide surgeons when doing complicated surgeries, determine areas of internal damage, and to pinpoint where a disease, such as cancer, resides in your body.

During a CAT scan, you will lay flat on your back, and your body will be moved through a tube. Many doctors refer to the imaging procedure as a loaf of bread. Each angle could be thought of as a single slice of bread. Doctors can use individual images, or they can be combined into a 3D image for a complete view. The recorded image is called a tomogram. Computerized Axial Tomography refers to the recorded tomogram sections at different levels of the body.

Today the CAT scanner finishes a scan within a few minutes and images can be seen on a monitor almost immediately. Within 30 minutes the entire collection of images can be viewed and copied. This technology is continually getting faster and more advanced.

CT Urography

CT Urography is a specialized radiological examination that is used to evaluate the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, and bladder). This sophisticated technology uses computed tomography (CT) which produces cross-sectional images throughout the body. Detailed images of the internal organs allow physicians to make decisions on the correct course of action to take.

The two main reasons to undergo this procedure are to detect kidney stones and to evaluate patients with blood in their urine. Kidney stones are relatively common and cause problems for patients when they block or obstruct the renal collecting system (ureter). This causes intense pain for the patient and should be assessed right away. Blood in the urine (hematuria) should be dealt with immediately as well. Even if there is no pain, be sure to see a physician right away.

There are no significant risks associated with this type of procedure.

PET (Positron Emission Tomography) CT Scan

A PET-CT scan is an imaging test that allows doctors to see the activity level of certain tissues and organs in the body, in addition to their structure. Before this test, you’ll be given a tracer substance that contains glucose with a small amount of radioactive material attached.

This tracer, which acts as a dye for the imaging test to pick up on, travels through the systems of the body. Areas with high chemical activity pick up more of the dye and produce bright spots on the final image, which alert doctors to potential disease.

The dose of radiation in the tracer is minimal and safe for most people. The tracer will need to be injected, swallowed or inhaled, depending on which part of the body the test is intended to examine.

PET scans are most commonly used to detect cancer, heart problems and brain diseases. What makes the PET scan unique is that it can detect activity and changes at the cellular level. Other CT scans, on the other hand, can only detect diseases once they have caused a noticeable change in the structure of the organs or tissue.

Because PET scans can detect early cellular changes in the body, they’re helpful in diagnosing complex systemic diseases such as coronary artery disease and seizure disorders. The level of detail they show makes PET-CT scans extremely valuable to medical professionals.

PET scans are safe for most people and the results far outweigh the risks of the radiation involved in the test. However, you should alert your doctor if you’re allergic to iodine, aspartame or saccharine or if you have kidney disease, as the tracers used for the scan could create a negative reaction. You also shouldn’t have a PET scan if you’re pregnant.

A CT scan can be used to examine every part of your body, including:

Chest, belly, brain, pelvis, arm, leg, liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, lungs, heart, blood vessels, bones, and the spinal cord

CT scans are most often used in the medical field but can be used in other industries as well.

During a CT scan, you will be asked to lie flat on a table. The table will be moved through a donut-shaped tube. The tube will move around the body and collect images from a variety of angles. Iodine contrast is sometimes used to make any clots or irregularities more clear.

CT scans are often used for emergency situations where quick action is needed, such as possible internal injuries from a car accident or other type of trauma.CT scans can be useful in many situations including:

  • Diagnose muscle and bone disorders
  • Pinpoint the location of a tumor, blood clot or infection
  • Guide procedures such as radiation therapy, biopsy, and surgery
  • Detect internal injuries or internal bleeding
  • Detect and monitor diseases like cancer

During a CT scan, an individual is exposed to much higher levels of radiation than they would while participating in a regular X-ray procedure. Exposure to high radiation levels can potentially increase your risk of developing cancer. Most doctors agree that the benefits of a CT scan far outweigh the potential risks involved. If you are pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor before participating in a CT scan.