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What Is a Multi Slice CT Scan?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A multi slice Computed Tomography (CT) scan takes a high number of images of the inside of a patient’s body in a short period of time. This can improve the resolution of the resulting images as well as providing a more comfortable experience for the patient. Such technology can be useful for diagnostic purposes as well as ongoing evaluation of patients in treatment. The number of slices available depends on the design of the equipment and its age.

In Computed Tomography, a camera takes a series of x-ray images along one axis of rotation. These images can be processed by a computer to create a three dimensional rendering of the inside of the body which highlights abnormalities, specific structures of interest, and other features. Some studies also involve the use of contrast material to make specific structures more visibly obvious. The more images taken, the clearer the multi slice CT scan will be, and the broader the coverage.

Using multi slice CT scan equipment, a technician can collect a high number of images in a very short time. Rather than taking one image a second, for example, the equipment might have four image detectors, allowing it to take four images every second. This speeds up the length of the test in addition to offering more images for the computer to use. The resulting processed images will be very high resolution, allowing the person interpreting the scan to definitely identify specific features of concern.

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One advantage to multi slice CT scan technology is patient comfort. Lying inside the machine can be stressful, and a short test creates less strain for the patient. In addition, people don’t have to hold their breath as long for critical chest images. The technician can use less contrast material, and it may be possible to offer low-dose CT to reduce the risk of complications caused by radiation exposure. Hospitals may adopt a multi slice CT scan machine both for improved diagnostics and better patient safety.

Newer machines tend to have more image detectors and work at higher speeds, because they represent the latest form of the technology. Older equipment may not offer as many slices per second. Patients curious about the specifics of a multi slice CT scan can get information from the technician about how many slices it takes and how long the test should last. The radiologist examining the image can also explain it to the patient, if there is an interest in understanding the results.

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