ZPR mourns the passing of Dr. Robert Ledley, the inventor of the first Computed Tomography (CT) scanner that was capable of imaging any part of the body. He passed away on Tuesday, July 24th, at the age of 86.

As a young man, Ledley wanted to study physics. His practical parents told him he could, providing he also became a licensed dentist. His parents wanted to be sure he could make a good living, so Ledley studied physics but also became a dentist. In the late 1950s, he became interested in computers and began focusing on how computers could assist in solving biomedical problems. In 1960, Ledley founded the National Biomedical Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of computing methods among biomedical scientists. By the early 1970s, he began his work on CT scanning.

His first machine was the Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial (ACTA) scanner, which was the first one capable of scanning the entire body. The original prototype of the ACTA scanner is at the Smithsonian Institution, and Ledley was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990 and awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Clinton in 1997.

Prior to Dr. Ledley’s invention, radiologists had limited resources — primarily, traditional X-rays. CT scanning provides much higher resolution images than X-rays, as well as being able to produce cross-sectional, 3D images. The invention of the CT scanner has changed how physicians diagnose and treat diseases.

ZPR acknowledges Dr. Ledley’s great contribution to our field and is proud to offer the latest in CT technology, including the 256-slice CT-Flash scanner which exposes patients to 75% to 90% less radiation than most other scanners.