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are there any risks associated with the CT scan?

If you are pregnant

All women of childbearing age should only have a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis during the first 10 days of their menstrual cycle. Otherwise, pregnant women should not have a CT scan or any other X-ray examination, especially during the first trimester (first 3 months of pregnancy). Sometimes a CT scan is absolutely necessary and then we take additional protective measures. Please inform the radiographer if you are, or think you may be, pregnant.

Risks from a CT scan

CT is considered a safe examination however there are small risks from radiation and from the use of intravenous contrast media. (see The scan itself - for intravenous contrast media reactions)

Radiation Dose

CT scanning does involve X-rays, and so has the usual risks associated with ionising radiation. Female patients who are or might be pregnant must inform a member of staff in advance. The amount of radiation is more than is used for an ordinary X-ray of the chest or body, and is equal to the natural radiation we all receive from the atmosphere over a period of approximately 3 years. This adds very slightly to the risk of, for example, developing a cancer. However, as one in three of us will develop a cancer at some stage during our lives, the added risk is very small, and also the risks from missing a serious disorder by not having a CT scan are considerably greater.

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