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CT of the Arms, Legs, and Joints - Benefits and Risks

Benefits

  • CT is painless, noninvasive and accurate.
  • A major advantage of a CT scan is its ability to image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.
  • A CT scan is fast and simple.
  • CT has been shown to be a cost-effective imaging tool for a wide range of clinical problems.
  • A CT scan can be performed if you have an implanted medical device of any kind, unlike MRI.
  • A diagnosis determined by CT scanning may eliminate the need for exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
  • X-rays used in standard CT scans have no immediate side effects.

Risks

  • The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies.
  • Women should always inform their radiologist or technologist if there is any possibility that they could be pregnant. CT is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.

Watch the CT - What to Expect Video.