Computerized axial tomography- sometimes referred to as CAT scan (CT scan), Images anatomical information from a cross-sectional plane of the body, each image generated by a computer synthesis of X-ray transmission data obtained in many different directions in a given plane. The images generated are called "slices", like slices of bread. They are usually in a single imaging plane (e.g. transaxial).
Early machines yielded digital images with at least 100 times the clarity of normal X-rays. Subsequently, the speed and accuracy of machines has improved many times over. CT scans reveal both bone and soft tissues, including organs, muscles, and tumors. Image contrast can be adjusted to highlight tissues of similar density, and, through graphics software, the data from multiple cross-sections can be assembled into 3-D images.
Note: Some CT exams require both oral & IV contrast.