Are CT scanners safe to use?
It is the case that a CT scan will expose your body to radiation, and an excessive amount of this can be linked to an increased risk of cancer. However, the amount of radiation used in a CT scan is not sufficient enough to increase the risk of an individual developing cancer.
CT scans should really only be ordered if the individual experiences symptoms that warrant it. Experts are keen to promote the use of CT scanners where the benefits of the test outweigh the risks. CT scans should not be used if an individual has no symptoms, as this can cause unnecessary anxiety. According to the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, CT scans present risks for public health when they are carried out on individuals who do not present with any symptoms.
If a CT scan is used to detect and diagnose health conditions in an individual who has symptoms, the risks are usually far outweighed by the benefits. This is because the scan enables doctors to reach a diagnosis, which means that the individual can start their course of treatment. The benefits and risks of having a scan should always be considered before an individual is advised to have a scan.
Who should avoid CT scans?
CT scans are a very useful form of medical equipment. However, the procedure may not be suitable for everyone. CT scans are generally not recommended for pregnant women because there is a small risk that the radiation may harm the unborn baby. Women who think that they may be pregnant should tell their doctor during the consultation.
CT scans are also usually not recommended for children, as they have a higher risk of a build-up of radiation, which could potentially be harmful. Children are only advised to have CT scans if they have symptoms of a serious illness and the benefits outweigh the risks.
Complications of CT scans
CT scans are generally very safe but, as with most medical procedures and tests, there is a risk of complications. In very rare cases, the contrast medium used before a scan can cause an allergic reaction. If you have allergies or you have had an allergic reaction to a dye or Iodine in the past, you should tell the radiologist before the scan.