Micro-computed tomographic (micro CT) imaging has become an important tool for the study of urinary stones. The method involves the collection of a series of X-ray pictures of the stone as it is rotated, and the internal structure of the stone is computationally recon structed from these pictures. The entire process takes from 30 min to an hour with present technology. Resulting images of the stone provide unprecedented detail of the mineral composition and its morphological arrangement within the stone. For smaller stones, reconstructions can easily have voxel sizes of <5 μm, making this a truly microscopic view of the stone. The micro CT reconstruc tions can be viewed with any of a number of existing methods for visualizing the structure of both the surface and internal features of the stone. Because the entire pro cess is non-destructive, traditional analysis methods - such as dissection and spectroscopic examination of portions of the stones - can also be performed. Micro CT adds value to traditional methods by identifying regions of the stone to be analyzed, and also with its ability to scan a cluster of stones or stone fragments at once. Finally, micro CT has become a powerful tool to help investigate events in stone formation that distinguish different kinds of stone disease.
- Stone composition
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