What is Computed Tomography (CT)?

ct of sinus mass

Computed tomography (commonly called a CT or CAT scan) combines the use of focused x-rays with computer technology. The horse is anesthetized and placed on a long moveable table. The table slides through the gantry - the circular opening - that contains an x-ray generator and detector. A series of x-ray exposures are made as the x-ray generator rotates quickly around the portion of the horse in the gantry. The result is a series of highly detailed images that can be reconstructed in three dimension.

CT has special advantages over other imaging techniques because it clearly shows the exact shape and location of tissues in any cross section of the body. It is useful in diagnosing lesions in the brain, sinuses, and the oral cavity. These images greatly improve our ability to accurately diagnose fractures, tumors, cysts, and dental abnormalities within the skull. Visualization of brain tumors can be further enhanced with the use of intravenous contrast agents.

CT is also used to examine legs and the cervical spine (neck). The use of CT is limited solely by the size of the patient - only those parts of the body that fit through the gantry can be imaged.