With any major health condition, it is necessary for medical practitioners to gather the most accurate data by performing tests. This is crucial in providing the correct diagnosis and applying the best possible treatment. It is natural for patients to feel anxious whenever a doctor requires them to undergo a certain procedure such as a CT scan. It is helpful to address all possible patient concerns to make them feel more at ease with the process. Here are the answers to some of the common patient concerns related to CT scans.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the machine itself should be of high quality. There are machines that emit less radiation than others. You must take time to check with the clinic to find out the type of scanner they use. You can opt for a private CT scan in London clinics for a guarantee that you get the best possible service.
In general, a CT scan is a safe procedure where the risk of any side effect only occurs when the doctor has prescribed the use of a contrast dye for clearer imaging. The contrast dye can cause allergic reactions such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Itching or swelling
These symptoms are often mild and go away shortly. Like with any symptom, if it persists for a prolonged period of time, you must consult a doctor.
When it comes to the amount of radiation, the patient is briefly exposed to ionising radiation. Newer and faster machines are also available these days further minimising radiation exposure. If you have any other questions about the risk of radiation related to a CT scan, you can always ask your doctor.
How should a patient prepare for a CT scan?
If the doctor has required contrast material to be used, a patient needs to arrive at least one hour before the procedure. Also, depending on which part of the body will be scanned, the technician may ask you to do the following:
- Take off some of your clothing and change into a hospital gown.
- Remove all metallic objects such as jewellery.
- Refrain from food and drinks for a few hours before the scan.
In any case, the procedure is simple and will not take long.
Are there conditions that restrict the use of a CT scan?
There are some specific conditions that restrict a patient from undergoing a CT scan. For example, it is not recommended for pregnant women due to the radiation. Unlike MRI scans, patients with implants such as pacemakers are able to undergo CT scans as an alternative procedure.
The benefits of using a CT scan surely outweigh the minimal risks involved with the procedure.