The patient is moved through a circular hole in the CT imaging system by a motorised table.
A source of x-rays circulates around the inside of the circular hole as the patient travels through the CT imaging equipment. It takes around a second to complete a single rotation. A narrow, fan-shaped beam of x rays is produced by the x-ray source, which is utilised to irradiate a segment of the patient's body. The fan beam can be as thin as 1 millimetre or as thick as 10 millimetres in thickness. There are multiple phases in a normal examination, each consisting of 10 to 50 spins of the x-ray tube around the patient while the table moves through the circular opening.
A "contrast substance" may be injected into the patient to help visualise the vascular anatomy.
The x rays exiting the section of the patient's body being irradiated are recorded as an x-ray "snapshot" at one point of the source of x rays by detectors on the exit side of the patient. During one entire revolution, many separate "snapshots" are collected.
For each complete rotation of the x-ray source, the data is transferred to a computer, which reconstructs all of the individual "snapshots" into a cross-sectional image of the inside organs and tissues.
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