What is a CT scan?

Medical professionals use computed tomography, also known as CT scan, to examine structures inside your body. A CT scan uses X-rays and computers to produce images of a cross-section of your body. It takes pictures that show very thin “slices” of your bones, muscles, organs and blood vessels so that healthcare providers can see your body in great detail.

Traditional X-ray machines use a fixed tube to point X-rays at a single spot. As X-rays travel through the body, they are absorbed in different amounts by different tissues. Higher density tissue create a whiter image than other tissues against the black background of the film. X-rays produce 2D images. CT scans have a doughnut-shaped tube that rotates the X-ray 360 degrees around you. The data captured provides a detailed 3D view of the inside of your body.

Are a CT scan and CAT scan the same thing?

CT scans and CAT scans describe the same imaging test. CAT scan stands for computed axial tomography.

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