What Are the Side Effects of a CT Scan?

The possible side effects of a computed tomography, or CT, scan include harm to unborn babies and reactions to the special dye used during the procedure, states Mayo Clinic. However, the benefits of this procedure exceed the small risks associated with it. Doctors strive to use the lowest dose of radiation to get the required information, and modern machines are efficient and need less radiation than earlier machines.

The risks are likely to occur depending on the number of X-ray examinations a patient has had in the past, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. It is a good idea for an individual to keep records of all CT scans and types of X-rays to help a doctor make informed decisions. The radiation is not likely to injure an unborn baby, but a doctor may suggest another test, such as an ultrasound, to prevent radiation exposure to the baby, Mayo Clinic reports.

Some people may experience allergic reactions due to the special dye used in a CT scan, though it is rare, states Mayo Clinic. Most cases are light and only cause itchiness or a rash. Doctors may ask patients using metformin to stop using the drug for 48 hours after receiving the special dye, John Hopkins Medicine advises. Those suffering from kidney failure or other kidney health problems should inform their doctors.