What are the advantages of a CT scan?

The invention of the CT scanner had a major impact on medicine. They are now carried out in countries across the world to aid the diagnosis and treatment of many different health conditions and diseases.

Advantages of CT scans

The major advantage of CT scans is that they provide very detailed images of the internal structures in the body. X-rays provide images of the bones and dense structures in the body, but they do not highlight problems relating to the tissue and organs unlike CT scans. CT scan images are very detailed, meaning that doctors can spot things that would be missed with other types of scans. CT scans are generally quicker than MRI scans and they can be used on different parts of the body. As well as being used during the diagnostic process, CT scans can also be used during treatment by helping doctors to plan and monitor the efficiency of treatment.

CT scans are a very effective means of checking for damage following an accident or severe injury, as the images enable doctors to detect damage, bleeding or inflammation. They can then decide on a course of treatment very quickly. Scans can also be used to test for damage following a stroke or heart attack.

Are there any disadvantages?

For some people, having a CT scan may be an unpleasant experience. This is because the scanner can be quite claustrophobic and people may be worried or anxious about the outcome of the scan. Some people may be worried about the risk of exposure to radiation, however, the amount of radiation an individual is exposed to during a scan is very small and it should not have any side-effects or implications on your health. CT scans should only be carried out if an individual has symptoms of an illness or has suffered an injury or been involved in an accident. The benefits and risks should be weighed up in each individual case, and the scan should only be carried out if the benefits outweigh the risks. CT scans are not suitable for pregnant women and they are not usually recommended for children.

Also, during the scan, the radiographer may ask the patient to hold their breath or control their breathing, which some patients may not be able to do.