In 1972, radiology took a giant step forward with the development of computed tomography (CT). Although still relying on the x ray, this radiographic technique uses a computer to process the vast amount of data obtained from an electronically detected signal. Since different tissues will absorb different amounts of x rays, CT passes x-ray beams through the body at different angles on one specific plane, providing detailed cross sections of a specific area. This information is scanned into a digital code which the computer can transform into a video picture. These images are much superior to conventional x-ray film and can also be made into three-dimensional images, allowing the radiologist to view a structure from different angles.
As a result of this technology, physicians could view precise and small tissues in areas like the brain without causing discomfort to the patient. CT also led scientists and engineers to conduct new research into how the computer could be used to make better images of body structures.
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