What is a CT Scan?

CT ScanHere at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we find that first time patients to our facility have a lot of general questions they might be prepared to ask. That is what our FAQ section and blog is for: to help our patients get more information so that they feel more comfortable when coming in for their procedures. One of the most common of the questions: what is a CT scan anyways? Well, let’s find out.

What Does CT Stand For?

CT stands for “computed tomography.” Let’s begin our lesson about CT scans by breaking down the name of the procedure. Tomography comes from the Greek word tomos meaning “slice.” Tomography refers to any form of imaging displaying a cross section through the body or object using either X-ray or other technologies. Computed tomography is combining the X-ray features with computer technology in order to create the highly detailed images or slices that physicians use to diagnose and treat patients.

How Do CT Scans Work?

CT scans are extremely beneficial because they allow medical professionals to see into the interior of the body without making incisions. This technology was not available 40 years ago which lead to a lot of invasive, exploratory procedures that may or may not have yielded conclusive results.

As we stated earlier, CT scans use the power of X-rays and computer software in order to create medical images. If you have never a CT scanner before, it looks like a large circular chamber with a bed inside in which patients lay down and are then slowly placed inside the circular chamber or “gantry.” The interior of the chamber is equipped with video and microphone so CT technicians and doctors can still hear and see you.

CT scans do not take too much time, at most 30-45 minutes. It is very important for patients to remain as still as possible in order to produce the clearest images. Inside the CT’s opening, on one side there is a X-ray tube that emits X-rays and on the other side of the circle is a large detector. As the machine makes a entire rotation,  X-rays move through the body and are caught by the detector. The detector captures the X-rays as one “slice” or angle and transfers them to computer software that translates the image.

What are CT scans used for?

What a CT scan searching for in the body is dependent on what the patient needs. Doctors use CTs for a number of reasons: broken bones, cardiovascular problems, blood clots, bleeding, cancer detection and much more. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our Siemens CT machine can take up 64 slices of an area of the body ensuring thorough examination for patients and accurate diagnosis for doctors.

If you have more questions about what a CT scan is, what to do to prepare for your CT or what to expect, you can visit our CT Services Page. If you would like to schedule a CT appointment you can do so through our Request an Appointment page or you can call our offices at 504-883-8111 Monday through Friday 8:00am until 5:00pm.