Connecticut workers who have been injured on the job are frequently asked to submit to a CT scan. But few doctors offer an explanation of how CT scans work or why these scans are made. The science that is behind CT scans is far too complex to be summarized in this blog. Nevertheless, the widespread use of this medical imaging technique makes it a critical part of the workers’ compensation claim process, and this post will provide an overview of its use and functioning.

The letters “CT” stand for “computerized axial tomography.” As the full name suggests, CT scans rely on computers to provide diagnostic information. CT scanners are a specialized kind of x-ray machine. The CT machine resembles a large, usually white, doughnut. As the patient lies on the table, the machine rotates an x-ray head around the body. As the x-ray head moves, it takes images of tissue and bones and transmits the images to a computer. The computer uses the digital information to create a series of cross-sectional images of that part of patient’s body which is being evaluated for injury or disease. By manipulating the controls, a physician can examine successive layers of the bone or tissue that will be treated.

While an ordinary x-ray is a cheap and effective method of diagnosing bone and joint injuries, a CT scan can reveal changes in soft tissues that cannot be seen on a standard x-ray. CT scans are often used to diagnose brain injuries, liver injuries, and injuries to other abdominal organs. One of the most common uses of a CT scan is the detection of various spinal cord abnormalities, such as a herniated disk or stenosis.

The Connecticut workers’ compensation system will pay for the cost of a CT scan if it is prescribed by the attending physician and if the injury in question is work-related. A proper CT scan can reveal signs of injury that an ordinary x-ray may miss. More importantly, the widespread use and reliability of CT scans make them an important part of a quick and favorable action on a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Source: emedicinehealth, “CT Scan,” accessed on Sep. 30, 2017