Pediatric Annals

Feature Article 

Advances in Computed Tomography

Ellen C. Benya, MD

Abstract

In the 36 years since the first computed tomography (CT) machine was created by Sir Godfrey Hounsfield at EMI Laboratories, there have been a number of significant technical advances, which have led to a marked improvement in the quality of the CT images that can be created of the brain and body. Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and Allan McLeod Cormack, who developed a similar imaging technique in the 1960s, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979 for the development of this remarkable medical imaging tool. The initial CT scanners produced low-resolution images of the brain only. Today with multi-detector CT (MDCT), exquisite high-resolution images of the brain and body, including the vasculature and tracheobronchial tree, can be created. Prior to 1989, most conventional CT machines were single-slice non-helical units that created axial images using the “step and shoot” method. In 1989, the spiral or helical CT method was introduced with simultaneous motion of the gantry and table, collecting a volume of CT data.3 The first spiral or helical CT machines continued to have a single x-ray source in the gantry and a single set of detectors. In 1992, a multi-detector unit with two sets of detectors was introduced, followed by the development of 4, 16, 64, and most recently 256 detector machines.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen C. Benya, MD, is an Attending Radiologist, Department of Medical Imaging, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Radiology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Address correspondence to: Ellen C Benya, MD, Department of Medical Imaging, Children’s Memorial Hospital, 2300 Children’s Plaza, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Dr. Benya has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Abstract

In the 36 years since the first computed tomography (CT) machine was created by Sir Godfrey Hounsfield at EMI Laboratories, there have been a number of significant technical advances, which have led to a marked improvement in the quality of the CT images that can be created of the brain and body. Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and Allan McLeod Cormack, who developed a similar imaging technique in the 1960s, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979 for the development of this remarkable medical imaging tool. The initial CT scanners produced low-resolution images of the brain only. Today with multi-detector CT (MDCT), exquisite high-resolution images of the brain and body, including the vasculature and tracheobronchial tree, can be created. Prior to 1989, most conventional CT machines were single-slice non-helical units that created axial images using the “step and shoot” method. In 1989, the spiral or helical CT method was introduced with simultaneous motion of the gantry and table, collecting a volume of CT data.3 The first spiral or helical CT machines continued to have a single x-ray source in the gantry and a single set of detectors. In 1992, a multi-detector unit with two sets of detectors was introduced, followed by the development of 4, 16, 64, and most recently 256 detector machines.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen C. Benya, MD, is an Attending Radiologist, Department of Medical Imaging, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Radiology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Address correspondence to: Ellen C Benya, MD, Department of Medical Imaging, Children’s Memorial Hospital, 2300 Children’s Plaza, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Dr. Benya has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

In the 36 years since the first computed tomography (CT) machine was created by Sir Godfrey Hounsfield at EMI Laboratories, there have been a number of significant technical advances, which have led to a marked improvement in the quality of the CT images that can be created of the brain and body. Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and Allan McLeod Cormack, who developed a similar imaging technique in the 1960s, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979 for the development of this remarkable medical imaging tool. The initial CT scanners produced low-resolution images of the brain only. Today with multi-detector CT (MDCT), exquisite high-resolution images of the brain and body, including the vasculature and tracheobronchial tree, can be created. Prior to 1989, most conventional CT machines were single-slice non-helical units that created axial images using the “step and shoot” method. In 1989, the spiral or helical CT method was introduced with simultaneous motion of the gantry and table, collecting a volume of CT data.3 The first spiral or helical CT machines continued to have a single x-ray source in the gantry and a single set of detectors. In 1992, a multi-detector unit with two sets of detectors was introduced, followed by the development of 4, 16, 64, and most recently 256 detector machines.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen C. Benya, MD, is an Attending Radiologist, Department of Medical Imaging, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Radiology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Address correspondence to: Ellen C Benya, MD, Department of Medical Imaging, Children’s Memorial Hospital, 2300 Children’s Plaza, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Dr. Benya has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

10.3928/00904481-20080601-01

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