What are Chest (Thorax) CT Scans?
A doctor or physician may order a CT scan of the chest to make detailed pictures and analyze the internal structure. Computerized tomography (CT) scanning is useful to get a very detailed 3D image of certain parts of the body.
The process begins by taking many different X-ray views at various different angles, which are then combined with the use of computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissue inside of your body, including tissues inside of solid organ. Ordinary X-ray testing does not show clear images of soft tissue, so doctors often request CT scanning to get a good image of soft tissue including organs, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and the brain. Sometimes a contrast dye is used as it shows up clearer on the screen.
A quality CT scan of the chest displays a view of all the structures in the patient’s chest, including lungs.
Reasons for a Chest CT scan:
CT scans are used for a multitude of reasons. They may be done to check for certain cancers in various different ways including to detect abnormal tumors, growths or lumps. They also identify the location of tumors, the stage of cancer, and where to perform a biopsy.
Chest CT scans can also be ordered after a mammogram exam. Some chest CT scans are tailored to look for heart disease, aneurysms of the aorta or pulmonary emboli.
A chest CT scan can be used to guide doctors or surgeons during a procedure, such as a biopsy. They are important in planning for certain types of therapy and surgery, as well as in the aftermath to determine whether your body is responding to treatment.
CT scans can be used to detect cysts or infections in the body. They can also identify the bone structures within the body and can accurately measure the density of bone.
A CT scan is often used to quickly inspect a patient after an accident in order to identify traumatic internal injuries. If you've been in an accident, a chest CT scan can detect air leaks (pneumothorax), fractures of the bones in the chest such as ribs or even internal bleeding.
A Chest CT scan may help diagnose (find):
A chest CT scan can help doctors diagnose the cause of shortness of breath or chest pain, as well as find the cause of abnormal findings from a standard X-ray.
A CT scan of the chest can discover masses, tumors, infections, or injuries. It can also show excess fluid around the lungs or a blood clot in the lungs.
A physician may request a patient to get a CT scan of the chest to see if they have blocked blood vessels, cancer, injury, or heart problems.
Chest (thorax) CT scans of the chest can look for problems with the heart, lungs, esophagus, the aorta, or even many of the tissues in the chest. It can also includes parts of the upper abdomen and can pick up abnormalities of the liver, spleen and stomach.
CT scans of the chest often help find or identify common chest problems including infections, lung cancer, pulmonary embolisms, and aneurysms. CT scan are also ordered by doctors to look for enlarged lymph nodes or can be used to see if abnormalities have spread into the chest from another area of the body.
A CT scan of the chest is frequently used to further study or look more carefully at an abnormality on a regular chest x-ray, such as getting a better look at a lung nodule or to evaluate pneumonia or other lung diseases such as emphysema.