A CAT scan or a CT scan is a type of medical imaging exam that you would get in a radiology department, which shows us the inside of your body without ever having to open your skin. The CAT scanner is a very large machine that has — it’s round, and it has what we call a bore. And the bore is the hole in the middle of the giant metal donut. And a patient will lay on the couch, we call it, and the couch enters into that bore. Once the patient is inside the bore of the CAT scan, it’ll make a lot of noise because on the inside, it’s spinning at a very, very fast pace. And it’s shooting really tiny doses of x-rays through the patient as it spins around. We use the information that the CAT scanner obtains in order to reconstruct with what is basically computer program magic to reconstruct the images inside your body.
The end result is a stack of images that you can scroll through which show your body sliced up like a loaf of bread. And in each slice, the radiologist, like me, is able to look at what the organs look like and the bones and the blood vessels and everything inside your body. When we get this good of a look on the inside, we can oftentimes answer the question that your doctor sent you to us for. Like, do you have some sort of a bowel obstruction or do you have a site of bleeding or is there cancer? Now the CAT scanner does use medical x-rays in order to obtain its images. Medical x-rays do depend on radiation and that radiation is potentially harmful, but only in very large quantities. In general, when we do a CT scan, we limit the amount of radiation to be as little as we possibly can use in order to get the images we need to see.