Computed tomography (CT) is an imaging procedure that uses special x-ray equipment to create detailed pictures, or scans, of areas inside the body. It is also called computerised tomography and computerised axial tomography (CAT).
The results of a CAT scan is a series of pictures like a loaf of sliced bread—you can look at each slice individually (2-dimensional pictures), or you can look at the whole loaf (a 3-dimensional picture).
CT is a powerful tool in diagnosing problems with bony structures such as the the foot and ankle, and is commonly used to investigate foot conditions such as:
- Bone Tumours
- Fractures – acute and stress fractures
- Degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis
- Flat feet
- Cavus feet
- Avascular necrosis
CT offers some significant advantages over other X-ray techniques in diagnosing disease, especially because it clearly shows the shape and exact location of soft tissues and bones in any "slice" of the foot and ankle. CT scans help doctors distinguish between a simple cyst and a solid tumour and any involvement of the bone. CT scanning is more accurate than conventional X-rays in determining the stage (extent) of some bone tumours, and provides information about the stage of the disease that helps doctors decide how to treat it.