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What is the CAT scan procedure?

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Quick Answer

The CAT scan procedure is a computerized tomography scan that includes a series of x-rays to create cross-sectional images of bones and tissue, notes Mayo Clinic. The procedure can be performed on a full body or a particular area, depending on the purpose.

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Images from CAT scans are used to better understand bodily injuries, notes Mayo Clinic. All bodily organs can be viewed as a three-dimensional image. In some instances, a specific dye may be injected into a patient's body to generate a more precise image of a specific area. For instance, advanced chest scans are used to understand problems associated with the heart, lungs and esophagus, as listed by WebMD.

CAT scans are also used for a number of medical procedures. For instance, medical professionals may utilize the CAT scan technology to guide a needle during a tissue biopsy, as noted by WebMD. The technology can also be used to track the spread of cancerous cells. A patient should always alert a medical professional of active conditions prior to taking a CAT scan. Pregnancy, asthma, diabetes and kidney malfunction are some of the conditions that can impact the effectiveness of the procedure. Patients should also be aware that during a CAT scan, there is significant exposure to radioactive emissions, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

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