Cross-sectional imaging

Dr Dan J Bell et al.

Cross-sectional imaging is usually used to refer to CT, MRIPET, and SPECT and related imaging techniques, that view the body in cross-section i.e. as axial (cross-sectional) slices.

Ultrasonography is sometimes included under this umbrella term, especially with reference to echocardiography, which produces standardised axial slices through the heart. However most radiologists do not tend to think of ultrasound as a cross-sectional technique since although it generates two-dimensional image "slices" of the body, the angle of the slices are often not perpendicular to the axis of the body.

Examples of imaging techniques that are not cross-sectional include plain radiography, and fluoroscopy. The techniques rely on projection of an x-ray beam through an object to a receptor. Planar nuclear medicine is also not cross-sectional, although the imaging radiation is emitted from the object of interest, rather than passed through it.

History and etymology

Cross-sectional imaging was being used as an imaging term in the mid-1970s in
some of the early CT papers 1.

Share article

Article information

rID: 55943
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • X-sectional imaging
  • Cross sectional imaging
  • Axial imaging

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.