Pizza? Pie? This might be what comes to your mind when you think of a “slice.” However, in the medical world, the “slice” count of a CT scanner means something entirely different! But what exactly does it mean?
Slice count in a CT scan refers to the number of rows of detectors in the z-axis of a CT. Huh? Think of it like this: as the scan moves over your body, the scanner takes 8 slices of data per rotation of a certain part of the machine. If you were undergoing a 16 slice CT scan, it would take 16 slices of data per rotation. The more slices a CT scan takes, the higher resolution it can reproduce of what it scans. In the early 90’s, technology improved to the point where CT scans could record 64 slices of data per rotation. Now, some extremely detailed scanners can go up to 320 slices!
So what does this mean for medical and other uses for CT scans? Simply put, we can get more details about what’s going on inside our bodies than ever before, while also analyzing artifacts, machines, and fossils without tearing them apart. A modern CT scan with enough slices can differentiate between calcium buildups and urate crystal buildups between joints, because the two substances absorb a different amount of energy. This leads to much better treatment strategies. As far as other uses go, high slice CT scans to find cracks in concrete before they become a structural problem, analyze the skeletons of ancient fossilized lizards Science News Org, and recreate the vocal cords of a preserved mummy.
The more information we can model, the better we can recreate what we’re trying to analyze. As technology gets better and better, CT scans promise to lead the way in both the medical and research fields.