Tips to Limit Your CT Radiation Exposure

While a CT scan is a necessary procedure in many cases, it doesn't hurt to make sure that the CT you are about to undergo is worth the radiation exposure. Here are a few steps that you can take to lower the danger:

Have a CT only if your doctor says you need it. Physicians are trained to know when a CT is necessary. Do not automatically assume that you need one before you talk to your doctor, and listen carefully to his or her advice when it comes to getting a scan.

If you are the parent of a child who is about to have a CT, ask whether the technician will use a lower dose of radiation. Children are more vulnerable when it comes to radiation exposure, so experts suggest that the CT be tailored to adjust for this difference.

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Find out whether another test or combination of tests can be used to obtain the same diagnosis. CT scans are fast and easy to perform, making them a quick choice for some doctors. But in many cases, other tests can be used.

Learn more about the CT center and the technician. You should ensure that the center at which you will have your CT is certified by the American College of Radiology. Additionally, it wouldn't hurt to find out how old the CT machines are; newer machines tend to expose patients to less radiation, cutting the possible risk of cancer in the future.

If you're scheduled for a repeat CT, ask whether the results of the first one will be sufficient. Some centers give patients a copy of their CT results for use in the future; these can possibly be used in lieu of a second scan.

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