Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 19, 2023

An Overview of CT Scans: How They Work

Have you ever wondered how a CT scan works? Whether you're considering having one done or just curious about the technology behind it. However, understanding more about CT scans can be helpful. To help you understand this topic, we'll provide an overview of a CT scan and how it works. So you can make informed decisions when it comes to your healthcare needs.

What Is a CT Scan?

A CT scan is an invaluable tool for medical professionals because of the wealth of information it provides. The test can capture detailed images of the body using X-rays and rotate them around to produce slices of the body in different positions. Doctors can then use these images to help diagnose medical conditions or even develop a treatment plan when needed. CT scans are crucial in understanding a patient's condition to establish an effective treatment plan.

How to Prepare for a CT Scan

Similar to any other medical test, preparation is vital. To get more information about how to prepare for a CT scan, asking your healthcare provider is essential. Of course, it depends on the type of scan being done.

Here are some general steps you can take to prepare for a CT scan:

Don't Eat for 4 Hours Before the CT Scan

You'll need to fast for four hours before your CT scan. Fasting helps ensure enough contrast between your organs and other tissues in your body so the CT scan can create clear images.

Wear Loose, Comfortable Clothing

Wear loose, comfortable clothing for your CT scan. You'll be asked to remove any jewellery, belts, and other items that might interfere with the scan. You may also be asked to remove some or all of your clothing and put on a hospital gown.

Tell Your Doctor About Any Health Conditions

Be sure to tell your doctor about your health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or pregnancy. You may need to take special precautions before having a CT scan if you have certain health conditions.

How is a CT Scan Performed?

Many different CT scans can be performed, but the general procedure is much the same.

Here are the basic steps:

  • The CT scan process begins with the patient being positioned on a table.
  • The table then moves through a large doughnut-shaped machine, which is the CT scanner.
  • X-rays are passed through the body, and the CT scanner captures these images.
  • The CT scanner then creates a 3-dimensional image of the inside of the body.
  • The radiologist will then interpret the images and provide a report to the referring physician.

Different Types of CT Scans

Different types of CT scans are available depending on the patient's needs.

Here are some of the types of CT scans:

CT Angiography

CT Angiography uses a computerised tomography scan to capture image data of the inside structures of your body. It is a safe, quick and non-invasive imaging test to visualise how the heart and its surrounding vessels function. For example, CT Angiography can help detect blockages or narrowing in arteries. It also allows doctors to evaluate diseases like aneurysms, coronary artery disease, and peripheral vascular diseases.

CT Bone Scan

A CT bone scan is a type of medical imaging that uses X-rays to form detailed images of bones. It's an effective way to diagnose various conditions and infections related to bones, including fractures and tumours. It's also used to evaluate arthritis and osteoporosis. During the scan, patients are asked to lie on a table while absorptiometry measures the rate X-rays pass through the bones.

CT Abdomen Scan

An abdominal CT scan can provide valuable insights when it comes to an understanding of what's going on in the abdominal region. Combining X-ray imaging with computer technology creates detailed 3-D images of the abdomen's organs, vascular structures, and bones. It allows physicians to find and diagnose many conditions, such as tumours and cysts, that could affect an area.

CT Pelvic Scan

A CT pelvic scan is a short and painless procedure to get detailed images of your lower abdomen, pelvis, and reproductive organs. During this test, a technician will take X-ray images from different angles to produce a 3D image of your pelvic region. CT pelvic scans are often used for diagnostic purposes, such as diagnosing ovarian cysts or any other pathology related to the pelvis. They can also be used when follow-up care is needed after an operation.

CT Scan Chest

A CT Scan Chest is an imaging test that can provide a detailed look at the structures inside your chest. The scan uses x-rays to create a 3D image, so your doctor can easily see your organs and blood vessels and assess whether everything is where it should be. During the scan, you are asked to lie still while a device moves around and takes multiple pictures. Beforehand, you might have to drink a contrast fluid which helps distinguish normal tissue from abnormal tissue in the images.

CT Kidney Scan

CT kidney scans are a giant leap forward for medical diagnosis. One scan can quickly and accurately provide detailed information about your kidneys, which would usually take multiple tests to determine. In addition, they are relatively quick and painless, making them excellent options for keeping track of your kidney's health.


CT scan, in total, is a useful diagnostic tool. However, understanding how CT scans work and what to expect can help make the experience more comfortable and anxiety-free. If you have questions about CT scans, speak with your healthcare provider. They'll be able to provide you with more information and advice about the procedure. With a CT scan, you can get a comprehensive look at your body and ensure that any medical issues are quickly identified and treated.

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