Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed tomography (CT), more commonly known as a CAT scan, obtains multiple graphical images of body parts from many different angles using special x-ray equipment. These images are then joined together to form a three-dimensional graphical cross-section, or "slice," of body tissues and organs.

Computed tomography scans show the following:

  • Bone tissue
  • Soft tissue
  • Organs
  • Muscles
  • Tumours

Computed Tomography (CT) is not a new field. It was first developed in 1967 by Godfrey Hounsfield, a British electronics engineer who connected x-ray sensors to a computer and worked out a mathematical equation to form images from the data obtained by the x-ray sensors. The first CT scans were performed in the 1970’s and took several hours per slice. The Mayo Clinic first began operating CT machines in 1973. At that time, CT images were 100 times clearer than normal x-ray images—and the speed, accuracy and overall quality of CT images has only improved since then. Today, the newest scanners can obtain up to four "slices" of data in 350 microseconds or less.

Computed tomography is also called:

  • CT scanning
  • Computerized tomography
  • Computerized axial tomography (CAT)


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