Sunday, September 12, 2010

Body Scan|Full Body CT Scan

Full body scanning gets much of the attention as it is keyed to disease screening. The medical imaging method most frequently under discussion is Electron Beam Tomography, EBT, for "full body" scans. However,  CT Scans, employing a computer helical CAT scan is also used for a wide range of body screening. It may also be referred to as "spiral scanning." Both are rapid and non-intrusive for the patient and provide almost immediate results.

In the EBT process, the patient lies on a table fully-clothed and an electron beam traverses the body area in seconds. Exposure to radiation is minimal and produces 3-dimensional images for examination by the technician or physician. The exceptionally detailed graphics may be viewed from every possible angle and images may be stored, filmed or transmitted.

In spiral CT scans, the x-ray tube rotates around the reclining patient as the examination table moves forward through the scanner. Since the tube is rotating while the patient moves through the x-ray it provides a spiral view of the body and thus derives the term for the scan. The process is rapid and efficient and may be applied from head to toe.

In EBT scanning, the term "full body scanning" has been applied to a scan of the vital organs. The body area covered in the scan extends from the neck and shoulders to the top of the hips.

EBT is now one of the major screening devices for the detection of coronary artery disease. Faster than the basic CT scan, EBT has been approved by the FDA and is considered ideal for early detection of calcification in coronary arteries. The screening allows physicians to act promptly to initiate preventive measures that might not ordinarily be revealed in early stages of a disease.

FDA has cleared full body scanning for early lung cancer detection. Many forms of tumors, intestinal irregularities, and disorders of the liver and kidney's may also be found at early stages, allowing for prompt attention.

Risks of Full Body CT Scan

People should be aware of the risks associated with full body CT scans (also known as CAT scans) and virtual colonoscopy. Full body scans, promoted in most hospitals now as a new preventative health screening service available to the public, involve doses of radiation that health experts do not consider to be justifiable in terms of a health check.
An investigation by most hospitals nowHealth and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) found people can be exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation, sometimes up to 500 times more than a standard chest x-ray, for no gain at all.

It is important to distinguish between CT scanning as a screening tool, and CT scanning for diagnostic investigation. 

This warning applies to the use of CT scanning in people with no symptoms, or with symptoms that have not been assessed by a General Practitioner.
In other patients, CT scanning is one of many useful investigations available to explore symptoms or monitor the progress of significant diseases, with the radiation dose involved in a conventional diagnostic scan deemed to be justified by the health benefits that may arise from the diagnosis.
However full body CT scans as a health check up are unproven and no studies have been completed to support their use for this purpose.
Leading Australian and international authorities on radiation technology do not support CT body scans as a preventative screening tool.
Another recently developed application of the CT scanner is virtual colonoscopy. While this test has some use in the investigation of people with a risk of bowel cancer, it should only be undertaken after consulting with a general practitioner or gastroenterologist to consider the most appropriate method of investigation for an individual.
According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection, a full CT body scan examination with an effective dose of 10 millisieverts may be associated with an increase in the possibility of developing a fatal cancer of approximately 1 in 2,000.
This small increase in radiation-associated cancer risk for an individual can become a public health concern if large numbers of the population undergo increased numbers of CT scans of uncertain benefit.
The independent Radiation Advisory Council that advises the EPA and most hospitals now Health on radiation matters, raised the following issues in relation to full body CT scans:
  • The procedure has no proven benefit and has not been shown to identify small cancers.
  • A medical practitioner should refer people for such a procedure if there is a real need.
  • The results may be unreliable, especially if there has been no medical management prior to the scan.
  • The potential radiation dose could be significant and pose long-term health risks.
CT scan operators who rely on advertising for business are subject to the following license conditions:
  • Consumers will need an independent doctor's referral before undergoing a full body scan.
  • Body scan operators must fully inform consumers about the risks of procedures, including the scale of the radiation dose, the inconclusive nature of the results and the risk for people under the age of 50 of developing cancer as a result of the procedure.
  • Consumers are obliged to sign a declaration stating they have received such advice.
CT scans have an important role to play in the medical setting and should be used in accordance with professional medical advice. Consumers have a right to know that to use full body scans or virtual colonoscopy as a screening tool may increase their risk of cancer.



  1. good information on ct scan.

  2. I found here briefly information regarding the body scan.I want to know that how doctor scanning the patient's body and its process of scanning.Really this site is great! Here can a visitor easily gain some knowledge of body scan.
    Full Body CT scan