How Does a CT Scan Work?

It’s very interesting to consider the advances in medical technology over the last one hundred or so years. We’ve gone from doctors having to open up a patient to explore what might be wrong to imaging technology that allows the slightest problem to be picked up.

Large devices like MRI machines and CT scanners allow doctors to diagnose and determine potential problems far faster than they could in the past. The CT Scanner in particular has been a great boon to medical science. The CT scanner started to be installed back in 1974. For the most part, the scanners have remained the same since that time. The main difference is they are more comfortable to be in while being scanned.

Computed Tomography

Many people aren’t sure what a CT scan is. The CT stands for computed tomography. What this means is that it uses x-rays in an entirely different way to scan the interior of the body from the angle that is required. It can also be called computerized axial tomography, which gives the even better short form of CAT scan.

What is a CT scan? One way to think about it is that it is an interior scan.  Imagine our body is a loaf of bread. A standard X-Ray scans the bread and gives an image as it looks down. A CT scan takes this bread to another level. The CT scan is like a harmless bread slicer. Rather than just looking at the crust, physicians can take out any slice to look at the interior of the bread in the area that they want to see.

Medical CT Scanners

CT scans are used for a large amount of the body. They typically are crucial for brain injuries, spinal injuries, serious sinus problems and neck issues. Medical CT scanners are non-invasive. This is the crucial benefit. A lot of diseases couldn’t be found beforehand without surgery or an autopsy.

The CT scanner has become an integral part of diagnosis and every hospital tries to have one on location. The CT scanner is multi use because it works for so many different issues. The ability to detect almost any irregularity in any part of the body is fantastic.

What are the Best CT Scanners?

Just like any other machine or product, there are some CT scanners which are better for people than there are for others. All CT scanners are going to give proper imaging results. It’s the science afterall, so as long as it’s built appropriately, then they will all be great in that fashion. However some can offer even more detail, while others have additional components that need to be considered.

Where CT Scanners distinguish themselves is through other means. People need to look into the following:

  • “Slice Count” - This is the most commonly considered and important aspect of a CT scanner. The higher the slice count, the faster the scan is completed. Slice counts can range from 1 to 320. Small slice counts are good for few patients, while a 64 slice count is fine for almost all high volume hospitals. Higher than that is for research facilities.
  • Price - Price is always a factor. These machines can range from as low as $50,000 to the high 6 figures.
  • Servicing - This is a specialized piece of medical equipment. It’s not a copier. If something breaks down, it can’t be hit with a hammer a couple of times to fix it. Servicing agreements are crucial.
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