If you have ever been sent by a doctor to the hospital for some tests, you have most likely come across the terms digital x-ray and industrial CT scan. The differences between these two are numerous and varied, and each machine comes with its own set of benefits.
What is an X-ray?
A digital x-ray uses a small amount of radiation that passes through your body to quickly capture a single picture of your anatomy. These can be taken as fast as 30 frames per second, and are meant to assess bone injuries or diseases such as bone degeneration, infections or tumors. Dense objects show up as white in the digital x-ray as they block the radiation.
Additionally, industrial x-ray equipment is used to view objects in a way that cannot be seen otherwise. This includes viewing pipelines, high capacity storage vessels, and structural welds.
Generally, x-ray machines are smaller and easier to use. The patient just needs to lie in front of the machine to get a proper reading.
What is an CT scan?
A computerized tomography uses a computer that takes data from several X-ray images of structures inside a human’s body and converts them into pictures on a monitor. Tomography is the process of generating a 2-dimensional image of a slice or section through a 3-dimensional object. First invented for head imaging only, whole body systems with larger patient openings became an incredibly useful tool for doctors.
This rapid, painless method of 3D scanning is able to image bone, soft tissues, and blood vessels all at the same time. Utilized for pinpointing issues with bony structures, evaluating lung and chest issues, and detecting cancer, this method images patients with metal instead of magnets.
The CT machine is quite large, shaped like a slim tube and the patient is entered through a moving table. While there is radiation exposure with CT scans, it is generally not recommended for use by pregnant women or children unless absolutely necessary.
Both X-rays and CT scans are important tools used by medical professionals for a variety of reasons. If you have any questions about the use of either, contact your doctor.