There are different types of CT scan images, each of which are designed to visualize specific structures and processes within the body. By providing a sharp and defined image, CT allows physicians to visualize internal organs, bones, and blood vessels to better assess symptoms that may be related to cancers, infections, cardiovascular disease, appendicitis, osteoporosis, and musculoskeletal disorders, to name a few.
Below is a list of the various types of CT scans that referring providers may request and some representative CT scan images:
A CT scan of head enable doctors to view inside the head of a patient that may be suffering from brain trauma, tumors or strokes. The head CT scan provides a more highly detailed and defined image of the brain and surrounding tissues than a traditional x-ray. A head CT scan can also be used to plan surgeries and plan cancer treatments. Similar types of exams include orbit CT, sinus CT, and neck CT.
Normal axial CT of the head
A pancreas CT scan is a common procedure used to identify a wide range of pancreatic diseases, including pancreatitis, pancreatic pseudocysts, and cancer. For those suffering from unexplained abdominal pain, infections or bleeding, a pancreas CT scan image provides an accurate and efficient method of detecting disorders.
Axial CT of the pancreas with IV contrast demonstrating pancreatic head cancer that compresses the pancreatic duct and causes ductal dilatation
A neck CT scan is a non-invasive procedure that produces images of the soft tissues and organs of the neck, including the throat, airways, salivary glands, tonsils, adenoids, thyroid, and lymph nodes. Sinusitis and other inflammatory diseases can be easily detected through a neck CT scan.
Normal axial CT of the neck with IV contrast (image is at the larynx)
An abdominal CT (from mid-chest to iliac crest) or abdominal and pelvic CT scan (from mid-chest to thighs) is one of the most common types of CT scans. These are very useful studies for detecting a wide range of diseases and disorders, including appendicitis, kidney stones, Crohn’s disease, bowel obstruction, and cirrhosis of the liver, among many others. Abdominal CT scans and abdominal and pelvic CT scans also enable doctors to plan cancer therapies in these regions and track their effectiveness.
Coronal image of a CT abdomen and pelvis with IV contrast
The cardiac CT scan is an excellent tool for identifying many heart related disorders, including coronary heart disease, aneurysms, and pericardial disease. Cardiac scan images produce clear, detailed images of the heart, as well as of the surrounding arteries, veins, and soft tissues. Similar types of exams include chest CT, chest CT angiography (pulmonary embolism studies), and aorta CT angiography with runoffs.
3D cardiac CT angiogram showing branches of the coronary arteries
The spine CT is an invaluable tool to create diagnostic images of the spinal vertebrae and intervertebral disks. Diagnostic radiologists use the images to assess bony spinal injury, tumors in the spinal column, osteoporosis, and herniated disks. Similar types of exams include cervical spine CT, thoracic spine CT, and lumbar spine CT.
Sagittal reconstruction of a CT lumbar spine demonstrating multilevel degenerative disc disease
CT angiography is a minimally invasive procedure using an intravenous needle and a CT scanner to examine blood vessels and the organs supplied by those vessels. CT angiography is used to diagnose a variety of disorders and diseases, including aneurysms, atherosclerotic disease, kidney disease, congenital abnormalities, and trauma to the arteries and veins.
3D CT aorta angiogram demonstrates a large vascular mass surrounding the celiac axis that extends along the course of the common hepatic artery