Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

10 min Average
UnityPoint Health - Madison

Computed Tomography (CT) Scans

Computed Tomography (CT) uses an x-ray tube and detectors to obtain image data 360 degrees around the body. The data is sent to a computer that processes the information into a cross-sectional slice of body tissue, organs and blood vessels.

Our Radiology department utilizes multidector CT technology or MDCT. This technology allows very fast scanning. An entire scan of the chest can be acquired in one breath hold (25 seconds). The ability to scan a large part of the body in a matter of seconds allows imaging of the heart and blood vessels throughout the body.

CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissue, including lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels, with great clarity. This allows the radiologists to more easily diagnose cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. The most common procedures are:

Head CT

Common reasons to test are for head injury, stroke, aneurysm, hydrocephalus or a sinus infection.

Chest CT

The scan is used to take a closer look at findings detected on conventional chest x-rays. It is also used to explain clinical signs or symptoms of disease of the chest. When abnormal findings are diagnosed using a percutaneous needle biopsy, this procedure may be needed to examine the tissue. CT can be used to help guide the biopsy needle to the area in question.

Abdominal CT

An abdominal CT is often the preferred method for diagnosing disease of the bowel and colon, including diverticulitis and appendicitis. It also visualizes the liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. CT can quickly identify the source of acute pain caused by infection or inflammation. The speed, ease and accuracy of an abdominal CT can reduce the risk of serious complications caused by a burst appendix or ruptured diverticulum (a small pouch-like bulge or pocket than can appear anywhere along the digestive tract, including the throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine). CT is also used to identify and treat kidney stones.

CT Angiography

A CT angiography is performed to evaluate blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the head, chest, abdomen and legs. This technique is quickly replacing conventional angiography where the patient must have a catheter placed in an artery and manipulated into the vessel of interest. CT angiography is significantly less invasive than conventional angiography.

Interventional CT – Percutaneous Needle Biopsy

A Percutaneous needle biopsy is done to provide a diagnosis of abnormal tissue in the body.

Musculoskeletal CT

This procedure is performed to relieve pain in spine joints.