At Radiology Center at Harding, our new GE Optima Scanner is capable of performing all types of scans in addition to screening for lung cancer, total body screening can be performed, as well as cardiac calcium scoring and virtual colonoscopy.

What is Computed Axial Tomography (“CT” or “CAT” scan)?

Computed Axial Tomography (“CT” or “CAT” scan) is a way of looking inside your body using a special computerized X-ray camera. The images (or pictures) produced are cross – sectional, like the slices in a loaf of bread. During a CT exam the scanner takes multiple cross-sectional pictures of you. These pictures are created with the help of a computer and are capable of depicting various internal body parts in much greater detail than standard X-ray films. This greatly enhances the doctor’s ability to diagnose a medical condition.

Multi-Slice Spiral CT scanning represents the latest advancement in CT scan technology. CT scanning has been in existence since the mid-70’s and the concept of multi-slice allows for more than 1 spiral at a time, further improving the accuracy of the images, and further shortening the time it takes to produce them.

Multi-slice spiral also allows for overlap of the images that are taken so that reconstructions can then be produced in 2 and 3 dimensions. This is extremely helpful when studying vascular structures, such as aneurysms of the abdominal aorta. CT angiography can also be used to study other arteries both before and after surgery. CT has shown great promise as a way to study the arteries of the heart in a less invasive way than traditional angiography.

Spiral computed tomography scanning can look at bones that have been fractured or dislocated, and virtually any of the internal organs can be imaged with great anatomic detail. In evaluating patients with cancer, CT scanning is extremely helpful, both in looking at tumors and also in measuring improvement after chemotherapy and radiation therapy. CT scan is an excellent test for diagnosing kidney stones, appendicitis, and pulmonary embolism.

Osteoporosis causes 1.5 million fractures annually and affects 10 million people, usually without causing any symptoms until a fracture occurs. CT bone density testing gives accurate measurements of bone density so that patients at risk can be given bone-building medication.

Other uses for CT scanning include scanning of the sinuses for sinusitis, and screening CT of the chest for smokers and former smokers. Studies have shown that x-ray diagnosis of lung cancer occurs so late that many times surgery cannot be performed. Patients who receive CT scans of the chest on a regular basis, however, can usually be diagnosed when tumors are stage 1, increasing their cure rate. The concept is similar to that of screening mammography.

As software and hardware continues to improve, our ability to perform noninvasive types of evaluations will only improve as well.