What You Need to Know About CAT Scans
a blog by My Emergency Room Abilene
What You Need to Know About CAT Scans
Today, more people than ever before are getting computed axial tomography (CAT) scans.
This highly advanced imaging technology allows doctors to see inside the human body with an exceptional degree of clarity and precision. CAT scans are so named because they combine multiple scanning procedures and operate on an axis system that uses special computer software to create detailed images of the human body. Using a CAT scan, your doctor can get detailed pictures of any part of your body, including the bones, muscles, organs and blood vessels.
These images make it easy for your doctor to see problems that might not be visible using other types of imaging tests. CAT scans have a number of different benefits and risks that you should understand before deciding whether or not to get one.
What is a CAT Scan?
A CAT scan (or CT scan) is a special type of imaging scan that allows doctors to see inside your body and identify health problems. A special scanner rotates around your body and uses X-rays to scan your internal organs, muscles, bones, and blood vessels.
The scanner collects millions of 2-dimensional images that are combined together to create 3D visualizations of the inside of your body. These visualizations are then used to diagnose health problems and plan your treatment.
A CAT scan is a non-invasive procedure that uses low levels of radiation. This means that the amount of radiation used during the scan is very small and is unlikely to cause harmful side effects. However, there are still some risks associated with getting a CAT scan.
How Does a CAT Scan Work?
Typically, a CAT scan will begin with you being placed inside a large machine that’s normally built like a tunnel. The machine will then rotate around your body as you are being scanned by a series of X-ray beams that are fired from different positions inside the machine.
CAT scan machines operate using a “slicing” or “axial” method to create the images. Since they use X-rays, they cannot produce pictures of organs that are located deep within the human body. This means that they are not suitable for scanning the brain, spine or heart.
Instead, they are used to get images of the bones, muscles, blood vessels and other tissues and organs that are closer to the surface of the body.
When Are CAT Scans Used?
CAT scans are used to detect a wide range of health issues. They are particularly useful for diagnosing infections, tumors, broken bones, blood vessel problems, and other issues that affect soft tissues and internal organs.
A CAT scan can be used to get pictures of almost any part of the human body. This includes the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, arms or legs. It can even be used to get pictures of the abdominal organs such as the liver, kidneys and spleen.
CAT scans are often recommended for people who are experiencing a variety of different symptoms. Some of the conditions that CAT scans are commonly used for include:
- Finding out the cause of a headache
- Finding out the cause of balance issues
- Identifying broken bones
- Seeing if there is an infection in the bones
- Finding out if there is blood flow interruption in a limb
- Looking for tumors
- Examining abdominal organs
- Finding out if there is abnormal tissue growth
Benefits of Getting a CAT Scan
A CAT scan is an accurate, quick imaging technique that can be extremely helpful for diagnosing a wide range of health issues. It can be used to detect infections, tumors, problems with the blood vessels, and other internal issues.
CAT scans can also be used to guide biopsies or other procedures that require precise tissue sampling. They can also be used to guide the placement of needles and other items during therapeutic procedures.
CAT scans are very safe, and they don’t expose you to any significant risks. They do use a small amount of radiation, but this is unlikely to cause any harm.
Risks of Getting a CAT Scan
Like all imaging techniques, CAT scans use a small amount of radiation. While this amount is unlikely to cause any damage, it’s important to remember that radiation is a cumulative threat. This means that getting multiple imaging scans over the course of many years could increase your risk of developing radiation-related health issues, such as cancer.
CAT scans use an ionizing form of radiation. This is a type of radiation that can break molecular bonds and cause atoms to become charged. This ionizing radiation has the potential to damage DNA.
While this can potentially cause health issues, it’s important to note that most medical imaging scans use very low doses of ionizing radiation. This is not enough to cause any significant harm. If you are concerned about you health before or after a CAT scan consult a physician.
Final words: should you get one?
It's important to remember that CAT scans are just one type of imaging technique. There are several other imaging scans you may be offered, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound or positron emission tomography (PET).
A CAT scan is an excellent imaging technique, but it’s important to remember that it has limitations. It’s not suitable for imaging organs that are located deep within the body, such as the brain and heart.
This means that you may need to get an MRI if you have a condition that requires a more advanced imaging procedure. CAT scans are very safe and effective, but it’s important to remember that there may be other imaging techniques that would be better for you.