Deciding whether to have a CT scan?
A CT scan is a commonly performed and safe procedure. There is very little that can go wrong. However, in order to give informed consent, all patients deciding whether or not to have this procedure need to be aware of the possible side effects and the risk of complications.
The CT scan itself does not have any physical side effects. However, if a contrast agent is used, some people may be affected.
As the dye is injected it can cause flushing and sometimes nausea. Some people feel warm and get a strange metallic taste in their mouth. These are normal sensations and pass within a few seconds.
The only complications that may arise from a CT scan are related to the contrast agent. Some people may have an allergic reaction to the dye. This is very rare and can be treated immediately with appropriate medicines. Also, the dye can cause further kidney damage in people who already have kidney problems.
People who have allergies or kidney problems should tell the CT department staff prior to the examination.
CT technology requires the use of ionising radiation. There known but slight risks to the foetus if exposed to ionising radiation, therefore if there is any chance that you could be pregnant, you will not be scanned.