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CT scan and its risks


What is a CT (Computed Tomography) scan?  

Computerised tomography (CT) is, sometimes referred to as computerised axial tomography (CAT), refers to a medical imaging procedure that uses specialised x-ray equipment to create detailed images, or scans, of organs, bones and tissues inside your body.

CT procedures involve moving an x-ray machine to provide a clear picture of your organs, bones and tissues. CT scan gives a detailed picture than the normal x-ray.

How does CT scan work?  

CT Scan normally involves a rotating machine that takes images of your body. The x-ray beam circulates in your body, providing a series of images from different angles. These series of images are sent to a computer, where they are combined to produce a single or cross-section image of your body. These images are combined to create 3-D images for a particular part of your body.

CT scan can be used to produce detailed images of your bones, tissues and blood vessels of your body. Thus, a CT scan allows the doctor to diagnose your cause and treat it accordingly.

How are CT scans done?  

To perform the CT scan, you will be asked to change into the hospital gown and should have to remove the metal objects or jewellery. Following are the steps about how CT scan works.

Step 1: You will be asked to stay still on the table

Step 2: The table will be sent slowly into the centre of the doughnut-shaped x-ray machine

Step 3: The x-ray machine rotates around your body, while the rotating processes it is normal to hear buzzing noise produced from the machine

Step 4: You will be asked to stay still or to hold your breath because the movement can blur the images

The time taken for the CT scan may vary but will not exceed more than half an hour, and it is painless.

How does CT scan with contrast done?  

The CT scan with contrast is used in rare cases; the contrast can cause allergic reactions sometimes. A CT scan can give a clear picture of a dense material like bones. On the other hand, the soft tissues may look blue or faint. So, to make a clear picture of soft tissues, a special dye in the name of contrast material is given to you. The contrast material or special dye appears white on the x-ray as it blocks the x-ray. Thus, giving a clear picture of your blood vessels.

Iodine and barium are commonly used materials for contrast in CT scans. The contrast is usually given in three ways, orally or injected in your veins or through an enema. Usually, you must consume plenty of water to detox the contrast material from your body.

What is the use of CT scans?

The CT scan is useful to diagnose all diseases and complications.

  • Bone and joint problems or tumours
  • Help to detect tumour Diagnosis cancer and its stages
  • Blood clot or block in blood vessels
  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • Diagnosis heart diseases

What are the side effects of CT scans?

Their complications are in number in CT scans. The ionising radiation produced by the x-ray is the major reason for side effects. It may even cause cancer as the radiation damages the DNA. Exposure to radiation during pregnancy may increase the risk of developing birth defects so you can opt for an ultrasound.

When the tables turn to contrast materials, it can cause allergic reactions in your body. The reaction may vary from mile to high. You may suffer from minor reactions like itchy or rash to severe diseases. Consult your doctor if you suffer from any allergies within a short period after your CT scan. If diagnosed with kidney failure or problems, inform your doctor. The contrast can cause kidney problems if you have impaired kidney function. Radiation is more harmful to children than adults.


The rate of risk is low, only if you are often exposed to radiation then the risk increase. Let your doctor know about your health complications before the CT scan, definitely, it will make the way easy for you and your doctor to diagnose or treat your diseases. Otherwise, one complication will lead its way to many. CT scan cannot be avoided at the neck of the movement when there is a need to perform it. Instead, you can prevent the diseases or complications that raised the cause for a CT scan.

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