How do I know if I should get a CT scan?

When deciding if a computed tomography (CT) scan is right for you, the most important question to ask is whether the benefits of the CT scan outweigh the concerns. It's important to know as well that doctors use these fundamental principles before proceeding with CT scans.

  • Justification: Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
  • Optimization: Obtain the best image by using the lowest dose of radiation to reduce potential future risk.

Safety and dose reduction are number one priorities prior to, during and after CT scanning procedures. Increasing the dialogue between you and your doctor is vital to maintaining peace of mind, agreement and understanding throughout your treatment process.

In discussing potential CT scanning, you and your doctor should be engaged in a joint decision process. If you feel concerned, ask and discuss the alternatives. Although alternatives, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, do not yield the same results or information as a CT scan, these options should be discussed and accessible if you have concerns.

Dr. Raja M. Flores, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Patients with a high risk for lung cancer due to family history or other factors like smoking should probably get a lung CT scan, says Raja Flores, MD, thoracic surgeon at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. In this video, he explains why.

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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.