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Types of Chest CT Scans

A CT scanner is a large, tunnel-like machine with a hole in the center. During a chest CT scan, you lie on a table as it moves small distances at a time through the hole.

An x-ray beam rotates around your body as you move through the hole. A computer takes data from the x rays and creates a series of pictures, called slices, of the inside of your chest.

Different types of chest CT scans have different diagnostic uses.

High-Resolution Chest CT Scan

High-resolution CT (HRCT) scans provide more than one slice in a single rotation of the x-ray tube. Each slice is very thin and provides a lot of details about the organs and other structures in your chest.

Spiral Chest CT Scan

For this scan, the table moves continuously through the tunnel-like hole as the x-ray tube rotates around you. This allows the x-ray beam to follow a spiral path.

The machine's computer can process the many slices into a very detailed, three-dimensional (3D) picture of the lungs and other structures in the chest.

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Last Updated: February 29, 2012