Get To Know About Computed Tomography Scanning And The Risks Associated With It

The advent of Computed tomography scanning has revolutionized diagnostic radiology.  Computed tomography scanning, is a non-invasive medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays to display cross-sectional images of the body. This imaging technique is also called computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanning. These images are used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Computed tomography scanning is useful for diagnosis of disease, trauma, or abnormality. This is considered to be an important medical tool for planning, guiding, and monitoring therapy.

During scanning, a motorized table is used to move the patient through a circular opening in the CT imaging system. In the Computed tomography imaging system, there is an x-ray source and detector that rotates around the patient. Single rotation may take about 1 second. Narrow, fan-shaped beam of x-rays are produced by the x-ray source that passes through a section of the patient's body. During the rotation, a detector records the x-rays passing through the patient's body from different angles. Many snapshots are collected during this procedure. All the individual snapshots are reconstructed into one or multiple cross-sectional images of the internal organs and tissues.

During the procedure, contrast material is often used to improve visualization. The contrast material is either injected into a vein or given orally or rectally or through a needle in the canal around the spinal cord, depending upon the type of CT scan being done.

There are some risks associated with the use of Computed Tomography. This technique involves much higher doses of radiation as compared to plain-film radiography.

The Main Risks Associated With CT Are:

  • Increased lifetime risk of cancer due to x-ray radiation exposure
  • Possible allergic reactions or kidney failure as a result of the contrast material being used to improve visualization
CT equipment settings can be adjusted to reduce dose significantly while maintaining the quality of the diagnostic image.

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