Computed tomography (CT), or CAT scan, uses X-rays to obtain images of the body. CT scans are highly useful for examining injuries and abnormalities, guiding needle biopsies and aiding in surgical preparation.
The patient is positioned on a table on his or her back, side or stomach, and may be provided with pillows for comfortable support. The table moves very slowly through the doughnut-shaped CT scanner. The X-ray beam inside the CT unit spirals slowly around the patient on all sides, creating 360-degree images or "slices" of the area being examined. As the patient moves through the unit, many slices are captured. The images are then combined to produce a highly detailed, three-dimensional digital image.