Computed tomography (CT) is a high quality method of imaging the interior of the body using X-rays (ionizing radiation). A tomogram is a slice or section image produced using a wave, in this case generated by gamma radiation. The resulting data is translated by a computer into visual images based upon the amount of radiation blocked by each type of structure in the body.
CT is an excellent modality for imaging bone. It is adequate for soft tissue evaluation, but is surpassed in most areas by MRI. Contrast, usually ionic radiopaque contrast, can be used to highlight tumors, infection, and inflammation or to delineate findings on a non-contrast scan.
CT is a common scan performed when a patient is unable to undergo MRI exam (i.e. pacemaker, surgical clips, cochlear implants).