Flat-panel detectors or, synonymously, flat detectors (FDs) have been developed for use in radiography and fluoroscopy with the defined goal to replace standard X-ray film, film-screen combinations and image intensifiers by an advanced sensor system. FD technology in comparison to X-ray film and image intensifiers offers higher dynamic range, dose reduction, fast digital readout and the possibility for dynamic acquisitions of image series, yet keeping to a compact design. It appeared logical to employ FD designs also for computed tomography (CT) imaging. Respective efforts date back a few years only, but FD-CT has meanwhile become widely accepted for interventional and intra-operative imaging using C-arm systems. FD-CT provides a very efficient way of combining two-dimensional (2D) radiographic or fluoroscopic and 3D CT imaging. In addition, FD technology made its way into a number of dedicated CT scanner developments, such as scanners for the maxillo-facial region or for micro-CT applications. This review focuses on technical and performance issues of FD technology and its full range of applications for CT imaging. A comparison with standard clinical CT is of primary interest. It reveals that FD-CT provides higher spatial resolution, but encompasses a number of disadvantages, such as lower dose efficiency, smaller field of view and lower temporal resolution. FD-CT is not aimed at challenging standard clinical CT as regards to the typical diagnostic examinations; but it has already proven unique for a number of dedicated CT applications, offering distinct practical advantages, above all the availability of immediate CT imaging in the interventional suite or the operating room.