CT scanning—sometimes called CAT scanning—is a noninvasive advanced imaging test that helps physicians accurately diagnose and treat medical conditions earlier.
Computed tomography (CT), also known as Computed Axial Tomography (CAT), is a painless, advanced imaging study, sometimes referred to as a CAT scan. Multiple x-rays are taken during a CT scan, and a sophisticated computer forms multiple digital cross-sectional images of the internal organs separating overlapping structures previously only evaluated by X-ray. These cross-sectional images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or transferred to a CD.
CT scans often result in earlier diagnosis and more successful treatment of many diseases, including infections, such as acute appendicitis; inflammatory processes, such as Crohn’s disease; renal stones; acute strokes and hemorrhages; traumatic injury; and cancers, just to name a few.
A CTA (also known as a CT angiogram or CT angiography), is a CT scan which uses intravenous (IV) dye or contrast, usually injected in the arm, to examine the blood vessels. Certain diseases, including aneurysms, dissections, pulmonary emboli, coronary artery disease, and vascular malformations can be easily diagnosed with this noninvasive test. While CT imaging does involve x-rays, the diagnostic benefits generally outweigh the risks of x-ray (radiation) exposure.
CT scans can be performed of the head and neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis and extremities. Specialized screening CT scans are also available including:
During a CT scan or CTA, patients lie down on a padded table and are moved into a donut-shaped scanner. Sometimes, intravenous contrast and ingested oral contrast is requested or required to increase the sensitivity of the scan. Iodine enhances both the vascular structures and organs and is later excreted by the kidneys. Some patients notice a warm sensation throughout the body during dye administration. On rare occasions, some patients may have an adverse reaction to the dye.
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