CAT Scan or CT Scan? Where’d the Cat Go?
When I was a kid, I remember hearing that someone who had been seriously injured or might have a serious injury would undergo a CAT scan.
At some point along the way, the CAT Scan seems to have disappeared. I’m not sure exactly when the change happened, but suddenly we started hearing about CT Scans.
At first, I thought it must have always been a CT Scan, but that someone pronounced it like cat. That would sort of make sense, but for the fact that there was definitely a point at which everyone seems to have stopped doing so.
CAT Scan or CT Scan?
The CAT, according to MedicineNet.com, refers to “computerized axial tomography.” It’s a painless X-ray test in which a computer gives doctors cross-section views of a patient’s anatomy. It can reveal both normal and abnormal structures, and, as such, can help diagnose disease, plan the treatment of a disease, or help doctors figure out how well current treatment routines are working.
Sometimes a dye is used to help certain things show up better during the test, which records images from various angles to create a three-dimensional view.
The CT, on the other hand, refers to computerized tomography. Other than the disappearance of axial in the name, a CT Scan and a CAT Scan are the same thing.
One of the biggest questions about the CT Scan is its safety. It does, after all, rely on X-rays, which means radiation.
The Mayo Clinic offers this:
At the low doses of radiation a CT scan uses, your risk of developing cancer from it is so small that it can’t be reliably measured. Because of the possibility of an increased risk, however, the American College of Radiology advises that no imaging exam be done unless there is a clear medical benefit.
Well that clears it right up, doesn’t it?