What does a cat scan show?


Quick Answer

Computerized tomography, or CT, scans provide several cross-sectional X-ray images of a specific area of the body as ordered by a doctor, according to WebMD. The machines are used to detect tumors, bone injuries, tissue changes, internal bleeding, aneurysms, infections, kidney stones, organ inflammation and abscesses.

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Full Answer

CT scanners operate by rotating a large circular X-ray machine around a patient's body as the individual lies still on a table, explains WebMD. The table moves into the scanner according to whichever area of the body is being tested. A special dye may be intravenously inserted into a patient's arm, rectum or joints to improve the imaging results generated by a CT scan. The scans can provide detailed images of almost any area of the body and are sometimes used during surgery to help a doctor place a needle into a precise location to obtain a biopsy or perform an abscess drainage.

CT scan are painless, but people who suffer with claustrophobia may require the use of a mild sedative to ensure they are comfortable during the procedure. WebMD warns that due to the concentrated doses of radiation that are associated with CT scans, doctors must be made aware prior to the procedure if a patient is pregnant or has other conditions. Mayo Clinic explains that exposure to radiation from CT scans may increase a person's cancer risk slightly, so it is important to be sure that the risks are outweighed by any medical benefits provided by the procedure.

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