Computed tomography (CT) scans are completed with the use of a 360-degree x-ray beam and computer production of images. These scans allow for cross- sectional views of body organs and tissues.
CT scans are used to image a wide variety of body structures and internal organs. Since the 1990s, CT equipment has become more affordable and available. In some diagnoses, CT scans have become the first imaging exam of choice. Because the computerized image is so sharp, focused, and three-dimensional, many tissues can be better differentiated than on standard x rays. Common CT indications include:
Sinus studies. The CT scan can show details of sinusitis, and bone fractures. Physicians may order CT of the sinuses to provide an accurate map for surgery.
Brain studies. Brain scans can detect hematomas, tumors, and strokes. The introduction of CT scanning, especially spiral CT, has helped reduce the need for more invasive procedures such as cerebral angiography.• Body scans. CT scans of the body will often be used to observe abdominal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, spleen, and lymph nodes, and extremities.
Aorta scans. CT scans can focus on the thoracic or abdominal aorta to locate aneurysms and other possible aortic diseases.
Chest scans. CT scans of the chest are useful in distinguishing tumors and in detailing accumulation of fluid in chest infections.
Stephen John Hage AAAS, RT(R), FAHRA, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,