Computed Tomography (CT) scans are also called CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans, which sometimes confuses patients. A CT scan is a specialized way of using x-rays; it combines images taken from different angles to produce a set of digital cross-section views, which can also be displayed as a 3-D image. The software that renders the x-ray images on the computer allows doctors to look at the structure they want to study in layers they can adjust as needed, for a precise view and understanding of where a problem lies.
Because of the precise mapping CT scanning allows, your doctors or surgeons can use the images to make an extremely detailed plan for treatment. CT imaging is often used to treat cancer patients, because it can offer an exact representation of a tumor and the body tissues surrounding it, so surgeons can carefully plan their approach and technique in advance and be aware of any potential issues before surgery begins. In some cases, CT imaging may eliminate the need for a surgical biopsy in making a firm diagnosis.
Using 3-D imaging gives your doctors as much information as possible to help determine whether a medical treatment will resolve your condition, or whether surgical treatment may be necessary. CT scans are non-invasive, painless, and safe for patients who have implanted medical devices like pacemakers, pins, or plates.
For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.