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What is Computed Tomography?

CT scan of the heart
CT scan of the heart using the latest technology (Siemens press picture)

If you would like to know about CT scan, and the uses of CT scan in obtaining a full body scan, the following information will be of interest to you.


Firstly, a CT scan (Computed Tomography scan) and a CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scan are the same thing.


Computed Tomography is a a method of examining body organs by scanning them with X rays and using a computer to construct a series of cross-sectional scans along a single axis. By this means a full body scan can be created.


A CT scanner is a large X-ray machine that has a short, open-ended tube in the middle (like a very short tunnel). The patient lies on a scanning table, which slides through the middle of the CT scanner. The CT scanner takes a series of  x-ray pictures. A computer then puts these images together to make one detailed CT scan image, and thus facilitate medical diagnosis. In some cases, a contrast dye is injected into the bloodstream to help doctors get a clearer picture.


CT scans are very useful because they can show several kinds of body tissue—lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels—with great clarity. By interpreting CT scans of the body, doctors are more able to arrive at a medical diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, infectious disease, injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.


For indicative costs of a private CT scan, view our CT prices list.

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Private Healthcare UK has arrangements with some of the major UK private healthcare providers to provide you with a quote or further information on CT scans. You'll get a response within 48 hours.

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To locate specialist providers of CT scanning, in the UK, search our database of medical imaging centres across the UK or go to Where can I go for a CT scan?.


Useful resources on the web



Information provider


Patient information and guide to CT scanning

The ImPACT group, part of the Imaging Physics Section of the Medical Physics Department at St George's Hospital,  London.


Computed Tomography (CT)

RadiologyInfo provided by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).