Computed Tomography - Frequently Asked Questions

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Written by Kalyani Thivakaran, B.Tech (Industrial Biotechnology) | Medically Reviewed by dr. simi paknikar, MD on Sep 18, 2019
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is a CT scan better than X ray?

The imaging done by CT scan is far more accurate and detailed than that of an X-Ray, which helps in better diagnosis.

2. When is it advisable to opt for a CT scan?

CT scan is often in the last layer of diagnosis and should be used only when the doctor feels it is absolutely necessary.

3. How safe are CT scans especially for children?

CT scans are often considered unsafe because of the high amount of radiation involved in it. There may be some skin irritation, rashes involved, also the chances of getting cancer increases. Hence it should be wisely used especially in the case of children as they are much more vulnerable.

4. Do the contrast materials used in CT scanning cause allergies?

Contrast materials may cause allergies to some people who are sensitive. Hence the physicians advise them to take allergy medications much before the actual scan.

5. Can pregnant women undergo CT scanning?

Generally best avoided as the radiation dose can potentially harm the fetus and is much higher than a plain X-ray. Alternatives include ultrasonography and MRI as they are not associated with known adverse fetal effects. However if CT cannot be avoided, it is advisable to inform the radiologist beforehand to take proper precautions to ensure extra care and safety.

6. What if I am claustrophobic - can the CT scan procedure heighten my Claustrophobia?

Generally MRI procedures cause much more problems with claustrophobia then CT scan procedures.

However if you suffer from claustrophobia the CT scan procedure can make you more anxious. If you are concerned, it maybe best to do some breathing exercise or consult your psychiatrist before the procedure. Sometimes drugs may help calm down your nerves. The good thing about CT is that the procedure takes only one to five minutes. Also the CT tube is wider and during the test the table moves and you are not just lying still.

MRI procedure can take 30 to 40 minutes and you have to lie still on the table, hence the aggravation of claustrophobia is much more.

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normalguy

This is such a "nice" description. A more realistic desrciption is the machine is a huge monstrosity and very very noisy. Additionally, you forgot to mention a HUGE negative about these machines, once you get rolled in, the machine is literally abouit 1 inch from your entire body - on all sides. You can't move at all! If you are unconfortable in small places you will freak out! 10-15 minutes is IF it goes perfectly. Mine took about 30 minutes as she keep getting mad because I coughed or breathed or ever so slightly moved. It was by far the worst experience. Also, the machine gives off so much radiation, the tech stays outside the room. That is not comforting.

Roentgen

CT scans on average take only a couple of minutes. From your description, it sounds like you had an MRI. MRI uses radiofrequency waves with a strong magnetic field to produce images, not radiation. MRI’s also take much longer and are typically very confining compared to a CT. If you are unable to hold still, the procedure will be prolonged due to the motion distorting the images. In addition… radiology technologists are exposed to radiation every working day of their lives so you cannot blame them for leaving the room, plus the consol to control and run the machine is outside the room.

Niel14

you have to ask first before you complain.

abhinav2011

computed tomography is brillant for the students and teenagers.it is very helpful and gives us plenty of knowledge about any matter.

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