Advantages and Limitations of Computed Tomography


Posted on: 20 November 2020 by chen shanshan

Abstract: CT is a type of imaging using special x-ray equipment to make cross-sectional pictures of your body. So when to use it and will it be harmful to our bodies?

Abstract: CT is a type of imaging using special x-ray equipment to make cross-sectional pictures of your body. So when to use it and will it be harmful to our bodies?

CT scans are common in hospital, by which the doctors can see inside one’s body. The so-called CT is actually computed tomography. As we all know, the images seen on the film of X-ray are overlapping images of human organs and tissues, and any lesions may be covered and missed. But CT scan can set the focus level and scan the human body at a certain angle, so that you can get multiple levels of human organs and tissues, looking at each layer, thus this problem can be solved.

This article will introduce the details about advantages, disadvantages and applications of CT scan.

CT scan is easier to find the lesion than X-ray.

X-ray works through the setting of the focus level, so the image outside the focus level is not very clear. Therefore, for organs and tissues in the abdomen, head and other parts, as well as lesions whose density is not much different from normal tissues, ordinary X-rays cannot meet the diagnostic requirements.

CT scan is also a tomography, but it has a breakthrough in imaging technology. It has a perfect scanning gantry, with which the scanning angle is greatly improved, and cross-sectional tomography can be easily realized. More prominently, CT pioneered the application of high-performance computer technology to the imaging field, and used high-performance detectors to simultaneously detect X-ray attenuation information. The imaging accuracy is unprecedentedly improved, the layer structure is clear, and the overlap of the lesions was never a problem. What's more, this examination are improved in recognizing the density, allowing the organs or tissues with little difference in density show different shades on the image.

Under certain circumstances, CT scan is more sensitive than MRI.

Currently, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques are advancing rapidly. In contrast, for the examination of head, CT can not only see clearly the structure of the skull, but also show the internal structures of the brain such as gray matter, white matter, and ventricles. Therefore, CT has more advantages in detecting intracranial hemorrhage. In addition, CT is also more sensitive to abdominal organ bleeding, lung disease, bone disease, etc.

CT scans can be radioactive and should not be used frequently.

Because it requires multi-level continuous scanning and imaging, the dose required is higher than that of ordinary X-ray examination, so there are higher requirements in terms of radiation protection. Except for special needs, repeated review which is unnecessary is not allowed. If someone gets lots of CT scans, even though each one is a small dose, there will still be an accumulated risk. Radiation increases the chances even very slightly of getting a cancer down the line. Younger patients are going to be more sensitive to exposure. Certain organs with rapidly dividing cells are also more sensitive to radiation.

Before CT scans, some dos and dont should be observed.

Before the scan, especially, 6 hours before the examination, food, alcohol and beverages should be fasted, and strenuous or prolonged exercise should also be avoided. Then, right before the examination, the patient should make sure his/her stomach be empty and all the metal objects be removed from the body or clothes. During the scan, do not move the body and breath steadily.

CT scan is also an outstanding helper in the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Althoug computed tomography is far more expensive, and exposes patients to a low dose of radiation. Evidences show that CT scans are more effective in diagnosis of COVID-19.

Study has found that 48% of patients who had negative results on the swab test, which detect the coronavirus's genome, in fact had the disease. The main reason is sample collection. The swab that's supposed to be pushed into the back of the nose and then curve down into the throat sometimes doesn't reach far enough, or doesn't remain in place long enough, to collect a decent sample. However, scientists in China reported that chest CT found 97% of COVID-19 infections. The scans CAN detect hazy, patchy, “ground glass” white spots in the lung, which is a sign of COVID-19 

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