CT-Scans & X-Rays 101


Here at Texarkana Emergency Center, we are proud to offer our in-house Imaging as part of our impressive clinical services. These Imaging services center around two types of tests, CT-scans, and X-rays. If you’ve never had a serious physical injury, you might not know what exactly CT-scans or x-rays are. We hear these names on TV medical dramas, but what exactly do CT-scans look for? What can an X-ray help to diagnose?

We want to break down these mysteries and get to know these two types of Imagining procedures for you.

CT Scans

A CT-Scan (also known as a CAT or Computerized Tomography Scan) is a medical scan that combines a series of X-rays taken from different angles to create a cross-sectional image. Kind of like a panoramic picture for your body. These tests are often used to observe bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues inside the body.

You might recognize the iconic, big machines with a circular tube entrances—these are CT-scanners. They work when a patient lays down on a narrow, motorized table which then slides the patient into the opening of the scanner. Depending on how much of the body needs to be scanned, a patient can be partially or completely inside the tunnel.  It is important for patients to stay very still while they get a CT-scan, to not interfere with the imaging.

CT-scans are usually used for:

  • Diagnosing muscle and bone disorders, tumors, or fractures
  • Locating a tumor, infection, or blood clot
  • Guiding procedures like surgeries, biopsies, and radiation therapy
  • Detecting and monitoring diseases and conditions like cancer
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of certain treatments
  • Detecting internal injuries and internal bleeding

While CT-scans utilize ionized radiation, they are minimal-risk scans. Newer, faster machines use even less radiation than ever before, making them incredibly safe diagnostic tools. CT-scans are safe for children and adults.


X-rays are pretty common, and if you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, then you probably got an x-ray at the dentist’s office. While CT-scans are composite images made up from multiple angles and cross-sections, x-rays only produce imagines of focused areas of the body. An x-ray will send out beams into the area that doctors need to observe, and depending on the density of the tissue, different images will be produced. So the reason that x-rays can see bone fractures is because the crack in the bone will not reflect the beams back in the same way the rest of the bone will. Doctors who are trained to analyze x-rays will know how to diagnose based on them.

X-rays are usually used to:

  • Find fractures or infections
  • Monitor and diagnose arthritis
  • Monitor dental decay and osteoporosis
  • Diagnose bone cancer
  • Diagnose breast cancer
  • Check for enlarged hearts
  • Look for blocked blood vessels
  • Diagnose digestive track problems
  • Check for swallowed items (infants and toddlers can be at risk for this)

Just like a CT-scan, x-rays use radiation to create diagnostic images. The radiation caused by x-rays is very low, and doctors do not consider it a health risk to get an x-ray. The benefits from these tests far outweighs any risks.

Texarkana Emergency Center’s in-house Imaging offers every patient access to both CT-scans and x-rays. Having these technologies available means quick result times for patients. You won’t have to wait hours at a hospital to get your fractured leg scanned. Our doctors can see you and have your condition assessed all in one place. The comfort and speed with which we can provide these services is all part of Texarkana Emergency Center’s commitment to concierge-level emergency care.

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Texarkana Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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