False-colour computed tomography (CT) X-ray scan through the human abdomen, showing the liver (yellow, left) and spleen (yellow, right). The abdominal aorta is coloured red, located above the spine and between the kidneys. A CT scan is constructed using a series of X-ray beams emitted from a source that moves in a full circle around the subject. A system of detectors diametrically opposite the source detects transitted x-rays from numerous positions around the subject - up to 1,000 points may be used. Data relating to the attenuation of each beam by body tissues is assembled on computer to obtain a black & white image of the section.
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