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Denver Imaging Center

Computer Tomography (CT)

A CT Scan or computer tomography (CT), is a medical imaging method which produces a volume of data that can be manipulated (through a process known as windowing) in order to demonstrate various bodily structures based on their ability to block the X-ray beam. A CT is created by combining a series of X-ray views taken from different angles. Modern scanners allow for 3-D representations of structures.

CT scans show bones and soft tissues inside the body. Medical professionals can view the images individually or as an entire view in 3D. This type of technology is extremely valuable to doctors needing to make decisions very quickly.


We specialize in various forms of CT Scans, to include

CT (Computerized Axial Tomography)

A CT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography), also referred to as a CT scan, is a computerized X-ray procedure. This provides a three dimensional scan of the brain and other parts of the body and is used to find irregularities. This technology can be used to help guide surgeons when doing complicated surgeries, determine areas of internal damage, and to pinpoint where a disease, such as cancer, resides in your body.

During a CT scan you will lay flat on your back and your body will be moved through a tube. Many doctors refer to the imaging procedure as a loaf of bread. Each angle could be thought of as a single slice of bread. Doctors can use individual images or they can be combined into a 3D image for a more complete view. The recorded image is called a tomogram. Computerized Axial Tomography refers to the recorded tomogram sections at different levels of the body.

Today the CT scanner finishes a scan within a few minutes and images can be seen on a monitor almost immediately. Within 30 minutes the entire collection of images can be viewed and copied. This technology is continually getting faster and more advanced.

CT Angiography

A CT Angiography (CTA) is a minimally invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Angiography uses one of three imaging technologies:

  • X-rays with catheters
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

In many instances a contrast material is painlessly injected into a peripheral vein to produce detailed images of both blood vessels and tissues.

Key areas of the body where CT angiography is used:

  • Brain
  • Kidneys
  • Pelvis
  • Legs
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Neck
  • Abdomen

A CT angiogram can show whether a blood vessel is blocked, where the blockage is, and how big the blockage is. Physicians also use this technology to detect and identify disease and aneurysms and to determine if there is a buildup of fatty material called plaque in a blood vessel.

About the Procedure

During a CT angiogram, you lie on a table that passes through a donut-shaped opening in the scanner. A special dye (contrast material) may be painlessly injected into your veins using an IV in your arm or hand. The contrast material is used to make the blood vessels easier to see on the scan. In some cases, if your heart is the focus of the exam, you may be given a beta-blocker to slow your heart rate during the test.

A CT angiogram is a less invasive procedure than a standard angiogram. A traditional angiogram procedure involves inserting a catheter through your artery; while with a CT angiogram exam no catheters or tubing is involved.

CT Urography

CT Urography is a specialized radiological examination that is used to evaluate the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters and bladder). This sophisticated technology uses computed tomography (CT) which produces cross sectional images throughout the body. Detailed images of the internal organs allow physicians to make decisions on the correct course of action to take.

The two main reasons to undergo this procedure are to detect kidney stones and to evaluate patients with blood in their urine. Kidney stones are relatively common, and cause problems for patients when they block or obstruct the renal collecting system (ureter). This causes intense pain for the patient and should be assessed right away. Blood in the urine (hematuria) should be dealt with immediately as well. Even if there is no pain, be sure to see a physician right away.

There are no significant risks associated with this type of procedure.


A CT scan can be used to examine every part of your body, including

Chest, belly, brain, pelvis, arm, leg, liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, lungs, heart, blood vessels, bones, and the spinal cord

CT scans are most often used in the medical field but can be used in other industries as well.

During a CT scan, you will be asked to lie flat on a table. The table will be moved through a donut shaped tube. The tube will move around the body and collect images from a variety of angles. Iodine contrast is sometimes used to make any clots or irregularities more clear.

CT scans are often used for emergency situations where quick action is needed, such as possible internal injuries from a car accident or other type of trauma.

CT scans can be useful in many situations including:

  • Diagnose muscle and bone disorders
  • Pinpoint location of a tumor, blood clot or infection
  • Guide procedures such as radiation therapy, biopsy and surgery
  • Detect internal injuries or internal bleeding
  • Detect and monitor diseases like cancer

During a CT scan an individual is exposed to much higher levels of radiation than they would while participating in a regular X-ray procedure. Exposure to high radiation levels can potentially increase your risk of developing cancer. Most doctors agree that the benefits of a CT scan far outweigh the potential risks involved. If you are pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor before participating in a CT scan.


CT Scan FAQ's

What is a CT Scan?

Computer Assisted Tomography (CT), also known as CT (computerized tomography) is an x-ray technique that uses a special scanner to create cross-sectional images of the body and head. This produces "slices" like the slices in a loaf of bread. Our CT scanner performs spiral slices – the newest and fastest scanning technology available.

CT's can image the internal portion of the organs and separate overlapping structures precisely. Unlike standard X-rays which take a picture of the whole structure being examined, CT has the ability to image that same structure one cross-section or "slice" at a time. This allows the internal body area being examined to be depicted in much greater detail than standard X-rays. CT is also able to provide clear imaging of both soft tissue, such as the brain, as well as dense tissue like bone.

Because a CT scan uses an ultra-thin, low dose X-ray beam, radiation exposure is minimized.

How will I prepare for my CT Scan?

Depending on the area of the body being imaged, you may be asked to drink a flavored mixture called contrast that will aid in the evaluation of your stomach and intestines.

Certain types of studies also require an IV contrast material, which will be administered through a vein (usually in your arm), once you are in the exam room.

If your exam requires an IV contrast material to highlight certain parts of your body, you may feel a warm sensation throughout your body and/or a metallic taste in your mouth once the IV is administered.

What will happen during the exam?

When you enter the exam room, you will be asked to lie on the CT table. The technologist will explain the procedure to you and position you on the scanning table. The table will then move to center on the part of your body being examined. You will be able to see out both ends of the scanner, and you will be able to talk to your technologist via a two-way microphone. The table will move within the scanner during the exam. It is normal to hear whirling or clicking noises while the exam is being done.

While the exam is being done, all you need to do is relax and remain as still as possible. You may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time.

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