Alternative names
Laminagraphy; Planigraphy; Chest tomogram; Tomogram - chest

A tomogram refers to a slice, or section, which is imaged by moving the X-ray tube and recording film simultaneously and in opposite directions. This method serves to blur out structures in front of and behind the area of interest.

How the test is performed
The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider’s office by an X-ray technician. You will likely be asked to lie on your back on the X-ray table. You will need to remain still during the test.

How to prepare for the test

Inform the health care provider if you are pregnant. You must wear a hospital gown. You must remove all jewelry.

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child’s age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

  • Infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)  
  • Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)  
  • Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)  
  • Schoolage test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)  
  • Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)

How the test will feel
There is generally no discomfort associated with tomography.

Why the test is performed
Tomography is used to further examine a chest lesion when other tests are inconclusive.

The test will show pulmonary densities (cavitation, calcification, and presence of fat in the lungs), tumors, or lesions (any breakdown of the tissue).

What abnormal results mean
The chest tomography may show lesions or tumors, help differentiate blood vessels from a small protuberance or swelling, and identify bronchial dilation or narrowing.

What the risks are
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the X-ray.

Special considerations

In modern hospitals and medical centers, plain film tomography has been superceded by computed tomography (CT).

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.