The Ruesch Clinic makes available to its patients medical teams and high-profile equipment that make the facility one of the reference points of Southern Italy for diagnostics
Computerized tomography (CT or CT, from English computed tomography), in radiology, is a technique of investigation through which you can reproduce sectional and three-dimensional images of the attenuation anatomy of an X-ray beam passing through a body section.
In Italy it is mainly known as TAC, or computerized axial tomography (from English computed axial tomography). In fact, the images were first generated only on the axle or transverse plane, perpendicular to the long axis of the body. Nowadays, however, the TAC is not necessarily linked to this axis thanks to the movement of the gantry, or the machine body, through which it is possible to acquire images in coronal. Moreover, the new technologies allow more easily the three-dimensional reconstructions of the analyzed body section.
Before the advent of the TAC the best method of representation of body sections was the stratigraphy, invented by the Italian radiologist Alessandro Vallebona in the first half of the twentieth century.
The concept behind computerized axial tomography was conceived by the English engineer Godfrey Hounsfield who, together with the South American physicist Allan Cormack, created the first TAC equipment in 1967. This research and the construction of the equipment allowed the two scientists to win the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1979 “for the development of computerized tomography”. The product was marketed for the first time in 1971.
Initially the apparatus was not able to make images of any part of the body. However, with the advancement of technology, this was also possible thanks to the ACTA, an innovative TAC device. From this moment on the technology behind the TAC has improved more and more, first of all thanks to the increased computing capacity of the computers.
Skull and brain
One of the most common uses of TAC is the study of the skull and brain. In the case of this particular anatomical region, which has numerous overlapping structures and considerable complexity, the use of the TAC, necessary for the purposes, for example, of a neurosurgical intervention, is necessary in order to view the area at high resolution.
Moreover, unlike magnetic resonance imaging, the TAC has shorter execution times and is therefore suitable for treatments in emergency situations such as strokes or cranial traumas.
This treatment is mainly used for the diagnosis of lesions, neoplasms, strokes, senile dementia forms, etc.
The use of CT is almost necessary in the study of dental arches. In fact, computer assisted implantology needs three-dimensional images for the planning of interventions. In implantology it is useful for the purpose of avoiding injury.
After the brain, the study of the thorax is certainly one of the areas in which the TAC is to be used more, so as to become the type of radiological analysis most used for the diagnosis of various diseases. Because of the overlap of various anatomical structures, in fact, the radiograph of the thorax, despite its very many uses, is limited and treats in some inaccurate way some pathologies, risking to invalidate the diagnosis. Magnetic resonance, on the other hand, lends itself little to the study of the lung and heart, which instead benefits from the speed of execution of the CT scan.
Furthermore, the use of the TAC is particularly useful, in the thoracic section, in the study of the aortic arch, in order to diagnose aneurysms or dissections and is also useful in case of pulmonary thromboembolism.
A CT scan can also be extremely useful for identifying the size of the lymph nodes and for a correct diagnosis of respiratory diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.
The use of the TAC, thanks to its speed of execution, is very useful for the study of the heart muscle, by virtue of its continuous movement. Obviously, even this type of visualization can be used before a cardiac surgery intervention in order to have a precise image of the intervention site.
The TAC can be used for diagnostic purposes to evaluate calcification of coronary arteries, for the study of the morphology of the heart, coronary arteries and cardiac veins.
However, a contraindication lies in the high radiation dose necessary to obtain an image of acceptable quality.
Often the pathologies affecting the region of the abdominal organs can be successfully studied through the TAC. In fact, the procedure is often used to analyze the liver and the biliary tract in order to detect malignant or benign focal lesions and metastases.
Use is also useful for the urinary tract to successfully visualize the renal arteries.
Finally, the abdominal organs can be subjected to the TAC in case of traumas of this magnitude that can cause internal injuries.
Bones and joints
In recent years, in the field of bone and joint studies, the use of magnetic resonance has reduced the scope of use of the CT scan, but the speed and three-dimensional reconstruction of computed tomography plays an essential role in complex fractures and in situations of emergency.
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