CT Scan - Experience

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What is a CT scan?

Computerized (or computed) tomography, and often formerly referred to as computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, is an X-ray procedure that combines many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body. Computerized tomography is more commonly known by its abbreviated names, CT scan or CAT scan. A CT scan is used to define normal and abnormal structures in the body and/or assist in procedures by helping to accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments.

A large donut-shaped X-ray machine or scanner takes X-ray images at many different angles around the body. These images are processed by a computer to produce cross-sectional pictures of the body. In each of these pictures the body is seen as an X-ray "slice" of the body, which is recorded on a film. This recorded image is called a tomogram. "Computerized axial tomography" refers to the recorded tomogram "sections" at different levels of the body.

Imagine the body as a loaf of bread and you are looking at one end of the loaf. As you remove each slice of bread, you can see the entire surface of that slice from the crust to the center. The body is seen on CT scan slices in a similar fashion from the skin to the central part of the body being examined. When these levels are further "added" together, a three-dimensional picture of an organ or abnormal body structure can be obtained.

Return to CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Deb, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I had a CT scan today. I drank a big glass of a milkshake like substance that was not bad. I waited 30 minutes and then drank another. I had an IV inserted in my arm. Everything was explained to me as it was done. You will feel like you are going to the bathroom but it's the medicines in the IV. Not a bad experience at all.

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Comment from: MJ, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I had a CAT scan with contrast and barium on February 11th, 2016. When it was over, I was dizzy and then within about 10 minutes I got severe pain on the right side of my face, nose, jaws and ear. The burning and pain lasted for about 15 minutes and I am still dealing with mouth sores and headache off and on. I cannot seem to find what I was injected with so make sure you know exactly what they are injecting you with and the amount. I also have Hashimoto's thyroid and no one ever asked and no one ever asked me if I had it or not. The burning in my neck on that area is still existent and it's been 13 days. I have never had a reaction before and this is been very concerning to me.

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