Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Guts of a CT Scanner (Computed Tonography Scanner) GE 64 VCT

Standard 64 slice GE VCT CT Scanner
I thought I'd share a rare glimpse into something the average person doesn't see every day. As I walked into our CT Scanning suite at work I was greeted by an exposed CT Scanner with it's faceplate removed.

Most people know that CT Scanners are the big machine that takes fancy xrays at hospitals and outpatient clinics. Usually you lie on your back on a long, skinny table while it moves back and forth through the hole of what looks like a giant donut.

CT Scanners have come a LONG way in the past decade and we are actually looking to upgrade to one that can scan a person's heart in between heartbeats! Man, that is fast! Nevertheless, right now we can still scan a person from "crown to crotch" or the tip of the head to the bottom of the groin in under three minutes. That can be maniuplated by the CT Tech into even smaller increments.

Faceplate pulled off and facing the wall.
So this post is simply to show you what the outside gantry "faceplate" looks like when it is pull off and set aside. The other picture is all the wires and gizmos on the inside. The technology is WAY beyond me to explain. All I know is that we "blow a tube" (an important part of the machine stops working) about once a year. Last year our tube made it through 20,000 patients. This year it only made it through 13,000 before breaking.

I'm told by the repairman that 20,000 is exceptional but 13,000 is below average. Why would it break sooner rather than later? Since it is the tube that heats up during a scan and gets hotter the more work it has to do to penetrate a human body, I can't help but wonder if the ever-expanding American body habitus (read: beer belly) is putting more and more strain on the machine in order to penetrate all that fat...

Guts that look like something out of The Terminator...
Nevertheless, the tube costs $125,000 to replace and I am glad to have a contract in place that replaces burned out tubes.



  1. You may have something there; heftier people make the machine work harder.

  2. Beer bellies, wheat bellies, candy and soda pop bellies. I see overweight children everywhere and they aren't drinking beer. And now the new hhs secretary states that Americans don't know how to "fix" vegetables and fruits. No, American's don't want to "fix" veges and fruits. Their kids won't eat them because the parents don't parent...or eat fruits and veges. My office receptionist actually said a fruit rollup was fruit. First ingredient on box...HFCS...which she said was a vegetable. Her underdeveloped son had powdered sugar donuts, chocolate milk, and junk food rollup for breakfast complete with all the added food colorings.
    I am on my soap box, and I'm sorry, especially after not commenting for so long. Was worried you and yours were hurting from some new life event when the new posts didn't come. So happy you are posting again; love the idea of short posts rather than none. The mom in me just loves to worry!
    Kudos to Mackey on her blog and on choosing homeschooling.

  3. I wonder if the life depends on how long the machine is working, not on how many times it is used? For example, the machine runs longer doing a whole body scan than just a head. In my experience with heavy machinery and vehicle, some parts wear out based on stops and starts, but more parts wear out base on number of miles/ hours operated.

  4. I can't believe how expensive it is to replace a tube. For $125,000 I am surprised that it only ran through 13,000 patents. Though, that comes to about $9.62 per patient, which doesn't seem like it's too expensive. If one part is that expensive, I wonder how much the entire machine costs?

  5. Oh hey, later in the day I'll be taking my kid for her first ct scans. She definitely would need it for her fractured ankles that occurred while playing softball. Hopefully it would be something quick to do, well, how is the process of it and what things she should bring to the ct scan?

  6. 5 minutes for the scan itself. Paperwork and check-in is another story. Ankles should be done at same time to save exposure. Nothing needed for you to bring. Just no metal ankle bracelets, etc.


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