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CAT Scan (Computed Tomography):

A computerized axial tomography scan is more commonly known by its abbreviated name, CAT scan or CT scan.

It is an x-ray procedure which combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body.

A CAT scan is used to define normal and abnormal structures in the body and/or assist in procedures by helping to accurately guide the placement of instruments or treatments. Occasionally, contrast material (an x-ray dye) is placed into the spinal fluid to further enhance the scan and the various structural relationships of the spine, the spinal cord, and its nerves. CAT scans are also used in the chest to identify tumors, cysts, or infections that may be suspected on a chest x-ray.

The machine is basically an x-ray tube that rotates around the patient making pictures as it rotates. The multiple x-ray pictures are reconstructed by a computer in axial slice images, similar to the way a loaf of bread is sliced. Each slice of bread can be examined separately. When these are "added" together, a three-dimensional picture of an organ or abnormal body structure can be obtained.

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