The computed tomography (CT) scan is a medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays and digital computer technology to create detailed two- or three-dimensional images of the body. Unlike other forms of medical imaging, the CT scan can make an image of every type of body structure at once, including bone, blood vessels and soft tissue.
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The technique uses a tiny X-ray beam that traverses the body in an axial plane. Detectors record the strength of the exiting X-rays, and that information is then processed by computer to produce a detailed two-dimensional cross-sectional image of the body.
CAT scans take the idea of conventional X-ray imaging to a new level. Instead of finding the outline of bones and organs, a CAT scan machine forms a full three-dimensional computer model of a patient's insides.
Unlike x-ray radiography, the detectors of the CT scanner do not produce an image. They measure the transmission of a thin beam (1-10 mm) of x-rays through a full scan of the body. The image of that section is taken from different angles, and this allows to retrieve the information on the depth (in the third dimension).