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CT Scan (General)
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is CT Scan (General)?

A CT scan uses x-ray technology to take multiple cross-sectional views of the inside of the body. Compared to regular x-rays , a CT scan can take clearer images of organs, bone, soft tissue, blood vessels, and other areas of the body.

CT Scan of the Head
CT Scan of the Head
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Some of the primary uses for CT scans include:

  • Studying the chest and abdomen
  • Determining the size and location of a tumor
  • Diagnosing and treating skeletal problems
  • Diagnosing blood vessel diseases
  • Planning radiation treatments for cancer
  • Guiding biopsies and other tests
  • Planning surgery
  • Identifying injuries from trauma

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a CT scan, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction to contrast material
  • Damage to the kidney from contrast material
  • Small risk of radiation exposure. Note: A CT scan is not usually recommended if you are pregnant.

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Allergies (if you are given a contrast dye during the test)
  • Kidney problems (if you are given a contrast dye during the test)

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test.

Call Your Doctor

After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Symptoms of allergic reaction...