Difference between X-Ray and CT scan
X-Ray vs CT scan:
The human body is largely vulnerable and is therefore, vulnerable to many threats caused by various diseases. These abnormalities could be the cause of external forces or phenomena which generated within the body itself. While the abnormalities which occur externally can be observed with the naked eye, certain dysfunctions which occur within the body cannot be observed that easily. It is for this purpose that various methods such as X-Ray and CT scan exist.
What is X-Ray?
X-Ray is a type of electromagnetic radiation of which the waves have a wavelength of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz, and energies which correspond to the range 120 eV to 120 keV. X-Rays are capable of penetrating some thickness of matter, thereby allowing to observe the condition of bones and also certain content in the stomach. Medical x-rays are produced by letting a stream of fast electrons come to a sudden stop at a metal plate, thereby producing images. The images produced by X-rays occur due to the varying absorption rates of different tissues. For example, calcium in bones absorbs X-rays the most which makes the bones appear white on the film which records of the X-ray image which called a radiograph. Fat and other soft tissues absorb X-Rays less than bones, thereby making them appear grey in color. Air absorbs the least amount of X-Rays, thereby, making the lungs look black on a radiograph.
How does the CT scan function?
A CT scan, which stands for Computed Tomography scan was also referred to as the CAT scan a while back. A CT scan is used in order to generate a three-dimensional image from two-dimensional x-ray pictures, one narrow slice at a time. A CAT scan thus takes these axial image, compile them together and recreate how the tissues and organs are located inside the body, aiding doctors arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
X-Rays and CT scans both aid doctors in imaging the interior of the body and thus coming to a conclusion regarding what goes on inside the body. However, there exist some major differences between the two which cannot be ignored. However, X-Ray remains to be the much older technology whereas the CT scan came later on as an extended and a much more advanced form of scanning which examines the insides of the body more closely, thereby delivering more acute results.
An X-Ray will only produce a two dimensional shadow of an object. It does not provide any details. X-Ray beams pass through almost any soft tissue in the body, thereby creating a shadow like impression of the bones on a radiograph. A shadow will deliver an incomplete picture of an object’s shape, thus avoiding the details. Since X-Ray only creates a shadow, it is possible that the smaller bones will get overshadowed by the larger shadows, thereby needing to turn the patient the other way in order to get a snapshot of the other parts. However, a CT scan machine creates three dimensional images of the body, thus taking snapshots of slivers of the body which enables the doctors to obtain more minute details regarding the internal organs. Furthermore, a CT scan machine revolves around the body of the patient, scanning the entire body as a whole and therefore, the patient does not need to be turned around in order to cover different angles of that person’s body.
Because of the above reasons, X-Rays are used to inspect cases of broken bones and such incidents which do not require much insight whereas CAT scans are used to examining internal organs which are not very easy to get a clear picture of otherwise. Therefore, CT scans are widely used to diagnose diseases such as head trauma, cancer, osteoporosis and etc. It should also be mentioned that obtaining a X-Ray is a common practice which is done very frequently and it is much easier to obtain as well as being cheaper in price. A CT scan on the other hand is done more rarely and it is known to be quite costly as well. This is due to the reason that the CT scan equipment is known to be more costly and because of their complexity to operate, the people who operate them need to be better trained as well.
Unlike in an X-Ray, a person is exposed to excessive amounts of radiation during a CT scan, as it is meant to obtain multiple images during a single scan. This is known to be quite hazardous to health which is why doctors opt for scan only certain areas of the body to avoid full body exposure to the rays. The professionals who operate the machine themselves are seen to be operating from within a shielded room to avoid exposing themselves as well. There is no such hazard in obtaining a X-Ray as an individual is not exposed to an excessive amount of radiation during the process. Thereby, X-Rays remain to be emitting the least amount of radiation, thus making the CT scan the more hazardous of the two.
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