The CT scan is used by doctors to see and evaluate cross-sectional slices of tissue and organs. It is one of the best tools for diagnosing problems in the urinary tract and renal systems. It combines X-rays and computer calculations for detailed images.
The CT scan uses special X-ray equipment to gather data from different angles. More specifically, very small, controlled x-ray beams rotate completely around the patient to collect data. Beams pass through the tissue as detectors measure thousands of X-ray images. A computer then produces detailed pictures shown on a screen.
It can show solid vs. liquid structures, so it is used to diagnose masses in the urinary tract. These scans can accurately gather real-time images of the kidney and urinary system in seconds, with no gaps.
CT scans are often combined with radiopaque dye, injected into a vein to create clearer images. Specialized CT scans can make 3-D images of the kidney and blood supply. These can show problems with blood flow and offer a "road map" for planning surgeries.
CT scans are generally safe, efficient, and effective, with minor risks. Some patients can have an allergic reaction to the radiopaque dye.
For more information please visit our UrologyHealth.org article on CT scans.