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What Are the Risks Associated with a CT Scan?

What Are the Risks Associated with a CT Scan?

There are very few risks associated with a CT scan. Though CT scans expose you to more radiation than typical X-rays, the risk of cancer caused by radiation is very small if you only have one scan. Your risk for cancer may increase over time if you have multiple X-rays or CT scans. The risk of cancer is increased in children receiving CT scans, especially to the chest and abdomen.

Some people have an allergic reaction to the contrast material. Most contrast material contains iodine, so if you’ve had an adverse reaction to iodine in the past, make sure to notify your doctor. Your doctor may give you allergy medication or steroids to counteract any potential side effects if you’re allergic to iodine but must be given contrast.

It’s also important to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant. Though the radiation from a CT scan is unlikely to harm your baby, your doctor may recommend another exam, such as an ultrasound or MRI scan, to minimize risk.

How can I learn more about a CT Scans?

Talk with your doctor. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Why do I need an CT Scan?
  • Why are you doing this CT test rather than a different one such as an Xray or a MRI?
  • Will you use a contrast agent for my CT? What agent will be used?
  • Is my kidney function good enough for a contrast agent to be used
  • What if I’m claustrophobic?
  • When will I get my CT test results?
  • Will I need to have more tests after this?

References : This material has been put together with resources collected from the following sources :,,