During a CT scan, you're briefly exposed to much more radiation than you would be during a plain X-ray. Radiation exposure potentially increases your risk of developing cancer, but doctors and other scientists believe that CT scans provide enough valuable information to outweigh their potential risks.
Be sure to inform your doctor if you're pregnant. He or she may recommend another type of exam, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to avoid the risk of exposing your fetus to the radiation.
Reactions to contrast material
Although rare, the intravenous (IV) contrast material involved in some CT scans causes medical problems or allergic reactions in some people. Most reactions are mild and result in hives or itchiness. In rare instances, an allergic reaction can be serious and potentially life-threatening. Make sure to tell your doctor if you've ever had a prior reaction to contrast material during medical tests.
Your risk of having a problem due to IV contrast may increase if you have a history of:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid disorders