CT Scan Side Effects

CT scan is a commonly used diagnostic tool for studying the internal anatomy of the body. But despite its benefits, CT scan entails certain side effects; let us know about them from this write up.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2018
Analyzing X Ray In Hospital
CT (computerized tomography) scan side effects, especially the threat of radiation exposure, though never reported to cause much concern among medical experts, has now become an important point of consideration. CT scan, also known as CAT scan, is a medical diagnostic device that takes X-ray pictures of the parts of the body that are to be analyzed for a medical diagnosis.Since the past few years, this technology has been used to diagnose number of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and complications related to the muscles and bones.
Why CT Scan May be Bad for You?
Some plausible adverse effects of CT scans may include:
Allergic Reaction
One of the most common CT scan side effects is the allergic reaction to the intravenous contrast material. This material is a form of iodine based liquid given in the vein which helps in the clear observation of kidneys and blood vessels on the CT scan.
Skin and Breathing Complications
Some other side effects include itching, skin rash and hives. These reactions last for sometime and can be treated with antihistamines. Some patients have been reported to experience much more serious symptoms of allergic reactions. In these reactions, the person may experience severe problems of breathing or in most of the cases, hives can appear on the skin. People with kidney problems, liver problems and diabetes are more prone to reaction from this problem. There has been ongoing research and newer intravenous liquids have been developed to counter this problem.
Women and Children - More Vulnerable
The amount of radiation a person receives from CT scan is set to such a level so that the body is exposed to a minimal amount of radiation. The negative effects of CT scan are more common now as the medical experts have increased the levels of the radiation to get perfectly clear view of the internal body. Pregnant women are mostly prone to side effects of radiation as the fetus can be adversely affected by the radiation. Pregnant women must inform their medical expert before they go for these tests and must prefer some other safer methods of imaging.

According to the National Cancer Institute, children are more sensitive to radiation if they get larger doses of the radiation. To avoid radiation in children, doctors must understand the medical condition of the child and should analyze the past medical record of the patient.
Risk of Cancer
One of the most scary effects of CT scans is that it increases the risk of cancer in a patient. Frequent CT scans exposes an individual to over dose of radiation, even though in small amounts leading to health problems. The most potent threat these days with respect to the increased use of CT scans in hospitals is the horrific disease cancer. As a patient, one must always inform the radiographer about any previous CT scans and if they experience any sort of discomfort during the process. It is necessary to inform about the past medical history to the radiology technicians because they can best determine if an individual is fit enough to go for CT scan tests.
According to a survey Americans are more exposed to ionization radiation today than they were 30 years ago. Physicians have related this trend to the increased use of CT scans in the US, in the last two decades. While several medical experts have started to rely less on CT scans, there has been a lot of debate in the media regarding the overuse of CT scans. Patients are even advised not to pressurize doctors to allow them for a CT scan test. According to researchers, people should try to avoid these tests unless it is urgent as successive CT scan tests within few years of interval are known to cause health problems.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.