A CT scan of the abdomen is useful in detecting conditions such as appendicitis and diverticulitis, while a scan of the urinary tract helps check for issues like kidney stones and blockages, explains WebMD. A scan of the chest might detect lung cancer, an aneurysm or a pulmonary embolism.
A patient may receive a CT scan of the head to determine the cause of headaches, weakness in the body or a sudden change of mental state, states KidsHealth. A scan of this region can confirm the presence of brain abnormalities such as bleeding, tumors, cysts or hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is excess fluid in the ventricles of the brain. It is also useful in examining the sinuses, pituitary gland or pineal gland for health problems.
CT scans have several other uses outside of detecting diseases and abnormalities, notes WebMD. A physician may use a CT scan as an aid when performing a medical procedure to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome. For example, a CT scan can make it easier to place a needle properly when draining an abscess. A CT scan is also sometimes used after a patient is already diagnosed with cancer to check for signs of the cancer spreading elsewhere in the body. This process is referred to as staging the cancer.