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Two Views of Shoulder CT scans.

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What are Shoulder CT Scans?

A doctor or physician may order a CT scan of the shoulder to make detailed pictures and analyze the internal structure. Computerized tomography (CT) scanning is useful to get a very detailed 3D image of certain parts of the body.

The process begins by taking many different X-ray views at various different angles, which are then combined with the use of computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissue inside of your body, including tissues inside of solid organ. Ordinary X-ray testing does not show clear images of soft tissue, so doctors often request CT scanning to get a good image of soft tissue including organs, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and the brain. Sometimes a contrast dye is used as it shows up clearer on the screen.

A quality CT scan of the shoulder helps doctors see the bones and soft tissues in the shoulder. A CT scan of the shoulder can also be referred to as a computed axial tomography (CAT) scan of the shoulder.

Reasons for a Shoulder CT scan: 

CT scans are used for a multitude of reasons. They may be done to check for certain cancers in various different ways including to detect abnormal tumors, growths or lumps. They also identify the location of tumors, the stage of cancer, and where to perform a biopsy.

A shoulder CT scan can be used to guide doctors or surgeons during a procedure, such as a biopsy. They are important in planning for certain types of therapy and surgery, as well as in the aftermath to determine whether your body is responding to treatment.

CT scans can be used to detect cysts or infections in the body. They can also identify the bone structures within the body and can accurately measure the density of bone.

The most common reason for a shoulder CT scan is to evaluate the shoulder after an accident or injury as occurred.

A Shoulder CT scan may help diagnose (find): 

CT scans of the shoulder can help a doctor identify blood clots, masses, tumors, and infections.

Symptoms that may warrant a CT scan of the shoulder include pain in the shoulder joint, clicking noises, stiffness or soreness in the general area.

A CT scan of the shoulder can display tears in the muscle, tendons or ligaments, as well as display inflammation of the joint.

Injuries following trauma or an accident can also be found, including a dislocated shoulder or fracture.


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