CT-Scan (Computed Tomography Scan) Overview

The computed tomography scan takes images from multiple angles to create a cross-sectional image a specific area. Normally these are X-ray images, though other sources are also used. Historically the process of tomography was created by Alessandro Vallebona in the early 1900s. The process was developed during the 20th century but was always limited because the technique could not produce images of soft tissues. However, in the 1961 William Oldendorf built a prototype of a rotating X-ray device that used a computer to reconstruct the full image. This led to the development of computerized tomography.

How CT scans Work

The fundamentals of CT are similar to X-rays. X-ray radiation passes through the body producing an image on the opposite side. However, the CT-scan uses a series of radiographic images around a single axis of rotation. Then a computer recreates a cross section of the organ, bone, or tissue being studied.

Medical Uses of CT Scans

CT scans are performed to get a more complete picture of a particular organ or region. Commonly they are used to examine the chest, abdomen, pelvis, and brain. CT heart scans are also common. They are effective at removing the layering that can obscure X-ray images, but also can be used rapidly with little preparation. CT scans are useful because they are a relatively quick and painless procedure. They are often ideal for quickly diagnosing trauma for emergency surgery.

Potential Hazards of Using CT Scans

There is a very low risk of cancer from ionizing radiation used in CT scans. CT scans use more radiation than basic X-rays, though still very low levels. The increased risk of cancer is more than off-set by the medical benefits such as early diagnosis and less invasive surgery. Of course patients who receive a large number of scans would have a higher risk, and doctors should minimize the use of this technique if not medically required. As with X-ray tests, CT scans are more dangerous to very young children and in pre-natal situations.

Crown Valley Imaging located in Orange County has two imaging centers in Mission Viejo and Newport Beach where you can have CT exams performed by qualified technologists at the Mission Viejo office. Images are read and interpreted by Board Certified Neuroradiologists and Board Certified Musculoskeletal Radiologists and reports are generated within 24-48 business hours.