What is a total or whole body computed tomography?

A total or whole body computed tomography (CT) scan creates images of nearly the entire body - from the chin to below the hips. This test has not been shown to have any value as a screening tool. ("Screening" means checking for signs of a disease when a person has no symptoms).

The American College of Radiology (as well as most doctors) does not recommend scanning a person's body on the chance of finding signs of any sort of disease. In most cases abnormal findings do not indicate a serious health problem; however, a person must often undergo more tests to find this out. The additional tests can be expensive, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. The disadvantages of total body CT almost always outweigh the benefits.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.