Computed tomography scans are used to diagnose and monitor symptoms, such as acute pain or swelling, and assess injuries as a result of accidents, according to RadiologyInfo.org. CT scans confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis and can guide a surgeon to the right area during a biopsy.
A CT scan, like traditional x-rays, produces multiple images of the internal structure of the body. According to MedlinePlus, head scans can be used to check for suspected brain tumors, brain bleeding or to investigate after a stroke; abdominal scans can be used to detect tumors or diagnose conditions that cause internal organs to become inflamed; and vascular scans and bone scans can be used to investigate the conditions that affect blood flow as well as assess injuries and disease. With the results from these scans, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders, states RadiologyInfo.org.
The benefits of having a CT scan usually far outweigh the risks, claims the National Health Services of the United Kingdom. CT scans are quick and accurate, often functioning as a replacement for invasive surgery. However, the procedure does expose the patient to radiation, and while the risk from a single CT scan is small, having many CT scans over time may increase the risk of cancer. Before deciding to undergo a CT scan, always consult professional medical advice.