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CT Scan vs. CAT Scan: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 4, 2023
CT Scan and CAT Scan are the same, with "CAT" being an abbreviation for "Computerized Axial Tomography."

Key Differences

A CT Scan, also known as a CAT Scan, refers to a specific type of medical imaging technique.
The term "CT Scan" stands for "Computed Tomography Scan" while the term "CAT Scan" stands for "Computerized Axial Tomography Scan."
Both the CT Scan and the CAT Scan are used to produce detailed images of the internal structures of the body, utilizing X-rays.
CT Scan and CAT Scan technology assist medical professionals in diagnosing diseases, monitoring treatment, and planning surgeries.
Though often used interchangeably in medical contexts, CT Scan is a more modern term, whereas CAT Scan is the older term.

Comparison Chart

Full Form

Computed Tomography Scan
Computerized Axial Tomography Scan

Terminology Age

More modern term
Older term


CT stands for Computed Tomography
CAT stands for Computerized Axial Tomography

Common Usage

Commonly used today
Used less frequently today

Connection to Imaging

Type of medical imaging
Refers to the same medical imaging as CT Scan

CT Scan and CAT Scan Definitions

CT Scan

Assists in guiding medical procedures.
The surgeon used the CT Scan images to prepare for the operation.

CAT Scan

Utilizes computer processing to generate an image.
The technology behind the CAT Scan was groundbreaking in its time.

CT Scan

Non-invasive method to observe body parts.
After the accident, a CT Scan was crucial to determine internal damage.

CAT Scan

Important in both diagnostics and treatment planning.
With the CAT Scan results, the medical team outlined the best treatment strategy.

CT Scan

A medical imaging technique using X-rays.
She went to the hospital for a CT Scan of her chest.

CAT Scan

Older term for Computed Tomography Scan.
She remembered when they first introduced the CAT Scan in her hospital.

CT Scan

Used to diagnose internal diseases or injuries.
The doctor ordered a CT Scan to check for any fractures.

CAT Scan

A radiographic procedure that produces detailed cross-sectional images.
After the headache, he was advised to get a CAT Scan.

CT Scan

Creates detailed pictures of the body's internal structures.
Thanks to the CT Scan, they could see the tumor clearly.

CAT Scan

A non-invasive diagnostic tool.
Before going through surgery, he underwent a CAT Scan to ensure safety.


What is a CT Scan?

A CT Scan, or Computed Tomography Scan, is a medical imaging method that uses X-rays to create detailed images of the inside of the body.

Is there a difference between CT Scan and CAT Scan?

No, they refer to the same imaging method, though "CT Scan" is the more modern term.

Why would someone need a CT Scan or CAT Scan?

It helps diagnose diseases, injuries, or to guide certain medical procedures.

Why is CT Scan a more modern term than CAT Scan?

Medical terminology has evolved, and CT Scan is a more streamlined term.

Are CT Scans and CAT Scans safe?

Generally, they're safe, but they do use X-rays, so radiation exposure is a consideration.

How long does a CT Scan or CAT Scan procedure take?

Typically, it takes a few minutes to half an hour, depending on the area being imaged.

Is radiation from a CT Scan or CAT Scan harmful?

While there's a small amount of radiation, the risk is generally considered low, but cumulative exposure should be monitored.

Which term is used more frequently today, CT Scan or CAT Scan?

CT Scan is more commonly used today.

Do CT Scans and CAT Scans require contrast material?

Sometimes, contrast material might be used to highlight certain areas of the body.

How should patients prepare for a CT Scan or CAT Scan?

Preparation depends on the type of scan, but it might include fasting or wearing loose clothing.

Can CT Scans and CAT Scans be used on any body part?

Yes, they can image any part of the body, including brain, chest, abdomen, and extremities.

What does CAT Scan stand for?

CAT Scan stands for Computerized Axial Tomography Scan.

Are there any side effects after getting a CT Scan or CAT Scan?

Generally, no, but there might be reactions if contrast material is used.

Do CT Scans and CAT Scans produce color images?

No, they typically produce grayscale images.

Can pregnant women have a CT Scan or CAT Scan?

They're typically avoided during pregnancy due to radiation unless medically necessary.

How do CT Scans and CAT Scans work?

They use X-rays and computer processing to produce cross-sectional images of the body.

Can children have a CT Scan or CAT Scan?

Yes, though radiation exposure considerations might lead to alternative imaging methods.

How often can one have a CT Scan or CAT Scan?

There's no set limit, but medical professionals monitor cumulative radiation exposure.

Can CT Scans and CAT Scans detect cancer?

Yes, they can help detect tumors and are often used in cancer diagnosis and treatment planning.

Are CT Scans and CAT Scans the same as MRIs?

No, while both provide detailed images, they use different technologies.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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