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HELICAL (OR SPIRAL) CONE BEAM COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY is a type of three dimensional computed tomography (CT) in which the source (usually of x-rays) describes a helical trajectory relative to the object while a two dimensional array of detectors measures the transmitted radiation on part of a cone of rays emanating from the source. Willi Kalender, who is credited with the invention, prefers the term Spiral scan CT, arguing that spiral is synonymous with helical: for example as used in 'spiral staircase'.

In practical helical cone beam x-ray CT machines, the source and array of detectors are mounted on a rotating gantry while the patient is moved axially at a uniform rate. Earlier x-ray CT scanners imaged one slice at a time by rotating source and one dimensional array of detectors while the patient remained static. The helical scan method reduces the x-ray dose to the patient required for a given resolution while scanning more quickly. This is however at the cost of greater mathematical complexity in the reconstruction of the image from the measurements.

The Spiral or helical scan CT machines have steadily increased the number of rows of detectors (slices) they deploy. These can produce an image in less than a second and thus can obtain images of the heart and its blood vessels (coronary vessels) as if frozen in time apart from minor details of the organ studied Like brain, abdomen etc.

Medicare Investigations (P) Ltd, India, has installed a High Speed GE Spiral CT Scanner in Halol Dist: Panchmahal (Gujarat) and in the premises of 500 bedded Government Civil Hospital Mandsaur (M.P.) India, as a Joint Venture with Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh India, on PPP basis since March 2009.

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