A CT Scan, or a computerized tomography scan, combines X-ray images that are taken from various angles, and then uses processing to create cross-section slices that show the bones, blood vessels and the tissues inside your body. Images provided by a CT scan are much more detailed than those that are provided by a plain X-ray.
Why is it done?
The main reasons for conducting a CT scan on a patient include:
- Diagnosis of muscle and bone disorders, like bone tumors and fractures
- Pinpointing the location of aninfection, blood clot or tumor
- Guiding various procedures like biopsy, radiation therapy, and surgeries
- Detection and monitoring of conditions and diseases like liver masses,lung nodulesheart disease, and cancer
- Monitoring effectiveness of treatments, like cancer treatment
- Detection of internal injuries or internal bleeding
The main risks that are involved in the conduction of a CT scan on a patient are:
- Radiation exposure: A CT scan briefly exposes the patient toionizing radiation. Owing to the fact that the CT scan gathers more information, the amount of radiation exposure is also more than that in an X-ray. Though these scans have not been shown to cause long lasting harm, there is a very small potential for increase in the risk of cancer.
- Harm to unborn babies: The radiation from a CT scan is unlikely to injure an unborn baby, but a doctor may be able to recommend a different test that will avoid exposing your baby to any radiation altogether.
- Reactions to contrast material: A special dye called a contrast material is required at times to be injected into a vein. Though not very common, this material may at times cause allergic reactions.
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