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Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

What is a computed tomography (CT) scan?

A computed tomography (CT) scan is a form of imaging that combines a series of x-ray images taken from different angles around the body. Computer processing then creates cross-sectional images (slices) of the blood vessels, bones, and soft tissues inside the body, providing more information and visual detail than typical x-rays.

Some CT scans may use a contrast material to help highlight the areas of the body being examined. This material may be taken by mouth (when examining the stomach or esophagus), by enema (to visualize the intestines), or by injection (to visualize the urinary tract, gallbladder, liver, or blood vessels).

How do CT scans improve healthcare?

CT scans can help doctors:

  • Pinpoint the location of a blood clot, infection, or tumor
  • Diagnose bone and muscle disorders
  • Guide procedures such as biopsies, surgeries, or radiation therapy
  • Monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments, such as cancer treatment
  • Detect internal injuries and internal bleeding
  • Detect and monitor organ conditions and diseases such as heart disease, cancer, liver masses, and lung nodules

The information obtained through a CT scan can help a doctor diagnose a disease or health condition, choose a treatment path, monitor the effectiveness of a treatment, and obtain detailed information regarding a patient’s health, which can improve health outcomes.