How images are obtained  


Images are viewed as though the patient is lying down on his/her back and you are standing at the foot of the patient looking towards the head. The patient's right side is displayed on the left of the image, and the left side on the right. Images are generally displayed in the order they are obtained, from superior to inferior. In this way, structures can be followed from image to image. If you aren't sure which structure you are looking at, try looking at the slice above or the slice below to help follow the structure and determine its origin.

To the right are two sequential CT images of the upper abdomen; the upper image is 5mm superior to the lower image. Each of these images represents a slice of the patient which is 5 mm thick.

The superior image is taken through the superior aspect of the pancreas ("P") and not much of the organ is visible on this slice. This makes it difficult to identify. Looking at the image just below will help, as more of the pancreas is now visible allowing appropriate identification of the structure. Note the right kidney is not visible on the superior image. The second, more inferior image shows the most superior part of the kidney, "K".