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3D Computerized Imaging
Basic Facts
Three-dimensional computerized imaging, or 3D scanning, most often refers to anatomic renderings generated from a rapid form of computed tomography (CT) scanning. In this form of scanning, multiple x ray sources and detectors continuously rotate around the patient in a spiral pattern as the patient moves through the scanner. The data obtained can be used to produce three-dimensional images.
The rapidity of multi-detector scanning allows the entire chest, abdomen, and pelvis to be scanned in about 15 seconds.
3D or multi-planar CT displays provide images of broad sections of the body and provide more information about blood vessels, organs, and other tissues than conventional axial slices.
Three-dimensional (3D) computerized imaging is an advanced form of computed tomography (CT) scanning that creates computer generated three-dimensional images. 3D computerized imaging:
  • Quickly scans large sections of the body;
  • Causes no pain; and
  • Produces high-resolution, 3D images that can be manipulated using computer software.

Patients may be asked to:
  • Avoid solid foods for about 4 hours before the procedure;
  • Change into a hospital gown or a pair of loose fitting pants and top; and
  • Remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the x rays.

3D computerized imaging carries the following risks:
  • X rays can damage body cells and fetuses; and
  • The contrast dye may cause an allergic reaction.

During the test, the patient lies on a scan table that slides into the gantry, a donut-shaped device that houses the scanning equipment. The table slides at a constant rate as the x ray tubes inside the scanner rotate continuously, taking as many as 1,000 images per rotation, which are then transmitted to a computer. The resulting images are then displayed on a monitor in a high-quality, 3D format.

If the patient needs a contrast x ray to highlight blood vessels, he or she will be administered an intravenous injection of a contrast material into the arm or hand. To obtain abdominal contrast images, patients drink an oral form of the contrast agent.

In most cases, the patient will be alone during the test. A technician will be able to see, hear, and speak with the patient at any time during the test.


Patients can resume normal activities immediately.

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