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CT Exam (CT Scan)

CT stands for computed tomography, a type of advanced, noninvasive X-ray examination that obtains multiple digital images of the body using a series of thin X-ray beam. A CT exam (also known as a CT scan) is used to diagnose abnormalities of bone and soft tissues by producing images of the body much like the slicing of a loaf of bread. It is a highly sensitive method of accurately viewing internal anatomy and detecting extremely small lesions. Utilizing high speed computers, the CT obtains 360-degree of X-ray information.The HSS radiologists performing and interpreting these examinations are uniquely qualified in that they are sub-specialized in conditions of the musculoskeletal system and orthopaedic conditions.

Below are some frequently asked questions about CT exams:


What are the benefits of a CT examination?

  • CT exams have shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems.
  • CT scanning is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
  • New state of the art CT scanners produce superior exams using a fraction of time and radiation exposure. At HSS, we practice ALARA for all our patients including pediatric.New technologies make faster scanning possible. For children this means shorter imaging times and less time required to hold still in order to produce clear, crisp images. Also, shorter scan times will make it easier for children and adults to hold their breath during critical parts of the exam. Scanning helps to reduce the need for sedation in children.
  • A major advantage of CT is its ability to image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.
  • Compared to MRI, CT is less sensitive to patient movement and can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind.
  • CT imaging provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and needle aspirations. Sometimes ultrasound is substituted for CT as a method of image guidance for procedures especially in children.
  • A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.

Why did my doctor order the CT exam?

A CT exam may be requested to be performed in order to assess bones, soft tissue, such as cartilage, muscle, and tendons, and joints for damage, lesions, fractures, or other abnormalities, particular when another type of examination, such as X-ray, MRI or physical examination are not conclusive.

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