What Is Involved in a Full-Body Scan?


Quick Answer

During a full-body scan, the patient lies inside a CT scanner, which is a doughnut-shaped machine, for 15 to 20 minutes while an imaging device rotates around the patient, explains WebMD. The scan combines multiple X-ray images and, with the help of a computer, produces a cross-section view of the body. This can assist a doctor in locating abnormalities while they are at an early stage.

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Full Answer

The benefits of undergoing a full-body scan are questionable, especially for people who are healthy and have no concerning symptoms, says WebMD. While some people may benefit, such as those at high risk for lung cancer, in most cases the risk of the procedure may outweigh any potential benefit. Also, many insurances companies do not reimburse patients for the cost of these scans, which can be expensive.

As of 2015, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved full-body scanning as a screening device, as no manufacturer has proven its effectiveness in this regard, advises MedicineNet. Many public health agencies and important medical organizations, such as the American College of Radiology and the American College of Cardiology, do not recommend the use of full-body scans for routine screening. Patients who undergo these scans expose themselves to unnecessary radiation, which can increase their risk of cancer later in life.

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