What Is a CAT Scan

CAT is a type of scan, which stands for Computer Axial Tomography. There is another name of CAT scan, which is CT scan, Computed Tomography scan. The word Tomography comes from the Greek word tomos, which means “slice”, and graphein means “write”. Tomography is nothing but a process, which helps to generate a 2D section or slice image through an object of 3D, which is called tomogram. This is mainly used for the medical purpose and this device is known as CTG scanner.

Dr. Alan Cormack and Sir Godfrey Hounsfield, a British engineer, invented this unique and advanced medical device. Now a day CTG scanner or CAT scan has a stronghold in medical practice. Dr. Cormack and Hounsfield got Nobel Prize jointly in the year of 1979 for their invention. This CAT scanner was first installed in the year of 1974 and now it is getting used almost everywhere for diagnosing medical diseases. By using this scanner, medical practitioners are getting high-resolution image, which is helpful for diagnosis purpose, and also it is much faster than X-ray.

Working principle of the CAT scanners-

  • A CAT scanner ejects many beams that will pass through your body
  • A detector of X-ray, which is placed within the scanner, will observe and measure the varied density levels of the beams.
  • Now this information has to be passed on to a computer that will develop a three-dimensional image of particular body part and display it to the monitor as a two dimensional image.

You can see that it doesn’t work as an X-ray machine, which emits only one beam and get it pass through the body. Therefore, CAT scan is giving you a higher resolution image.

When the beams pass through the different parts of the body fall into the X-ray scanner then different density is observed because when it passes through a less density tissue beams, density will be stronger like lungs and when it passes through the high-density tissue beams, density will be lesser like bones. Now this relative density information has to be transferred to the computer and they will do the rest work as said earlier.

Preparation before CAT scan-

  • If CT scan is required for the abdomen then patient is told to have certain type of meal called barium, which is white in color and passes through the digestion system, which will give a clear image of the system and for the lower part barium enema is given.
  •  If it is needed for the blood vessels then barium injection have to be given. This process is known as contrast. However it is risky as some people have faced bad reaction caused by contrast.

 As this process involves radiation, therefore it may be harmful for the body though it is a safe-level.