Faster Than a Traditional CT

CT scans use special X-ray systems that image the body from different angles and then use computer processing to show a cross-section of the various tissues and organs pictured. With very little radiation exposure to patients, CT scans have proven very helpful in diagnosing cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

How Helical CT Scan Works

Helical (Spiral) CT is a vast improvement over conventional CT scans. The patient lies on an exam table that passes through a doughnut-shaped scanner, while an X-ray tube rotates around the table. This movement results in a spiral shaped continuous data set without any gaps. With the helical CT, there is less likelihood to miss small tumors or abnormalities, and spiral CT is about 8 to 10 times faster than a traditional CT. This procedure is especially beneficial to the elderly, very young patients and acutely injured patients who are sensitive to longer exam times.

The multi-slice CT allows doctors to simultaneously capture multiple images of a patient’s anatomy from the helical data. The GE LightSpeed is an example of this technology, and is up to six times faster than traditional single slice helical CT scanners, which helps reduce the scan time from a few minutes or more to 20-30 seconds. This is especially useful in trauma situations where the faster scan can allow emergency physicians to begin treating the patient more quickly. Also, it is very helpful for patients who cannot hold their breath.

In addition, the CT scanner technology has the potential to significantly reduce diagnostic time and increase image clarity for the diagnosis of multiple chest, abdominal and pelvic conditions, including detection and staging of cancer. Life-threatening blood clots and cardiovascular conditions also can be detected faster and more reliably using a CTA performed with the LightSpeed scanner.