The History Behind Computerized Tomography

Computed tomography scan

Computerized tomography scans, or “CT Scans,” are something many doctors and medical professions employ around the country, but very few people know exactly what they do and why. Here’s a few facts about CT scanning services you might not have known.

  • CT scanning has been around for over 40 years. Computerized tomography was invented in 1972 by Godfrey Hounsfield and Allan Cormack. Hounsfield was a British engineer of EMI Laboratories in England, and Cormack was a South African-born physicist for Tufts University in Michigan, and they both won the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions to the fields of science and medicine.
  • The technology has grown at an astonishing rate, and it just keeps improving. CT scanners were first installed in 1976, and were only used for head imaging. However, as quickly as 1976 “whole body” systems became available, and by 1980 CT scans became widely used. The first computed tomography scan took several days to create a single image, but today it’s possible to create full three-dimensional models in a matter of seconds. These 3D scanning services create numerous possibilities, such as 3D reverse engineering of images and 3D metrology (the scientific study of measurement).
  • It works by using X-rays. CT scans use computers to convert data from X-rays to images on a monitor. The “tomography” aspect of CT refers to the process of turning the two-dimensional image to a three-dimensional object. X-rays are both simple to use and fast, being able to be taken at 30 frames per second. The size of the part is also not an issue, as anything as small as half of a millimeter to something as (comparatively) large as 660 millimeters can be digitally x-rayed.
  • It is non-damaging and non-invasive. Computerized tomography is an example of what is known as “nondestructive testing,” or “NDT.” Essentially, this means that it allows science and medicine to study objects without causing any damage. If a patient is suffering from chronic, intense headaches for example, the cause can be searched for and found without cutting into the head and causing any further potential harm.
  • Computed tomography has been vastly useful in the fields of science and medicine for decades. It is nondestructive, so it will not cause any physical harm to the patient or subject. It is quick, since it uses X-rays which can take many images in a matter of seconds. Finally, it can create full three-dimensional objects from a simple two-dimensional image, which is incredibly useful for scientific study.