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Standard computed tomography (CT) scanners use normal X-rays to make cross-sectional ‘slice-like’ pictures or images of the body (see InsideRadiology: Computed Tomography).
A dual energy CT scanner is fairly new technology that uses both the normal X-ray and also a second less powerful X-ray to make the images. This gives dual energy CT additional advantages over standard CT for a wide range of tests and procedures (see benefits of dual energy CT below).
Your doctor might refer you for a dual energy CT scan because:
Preparation for a dual energy CT scan is identical to that required for a standard CT scan (see: Computed Tomography). Your referring doctor and the radiology facility where you are having the dual energy CT scan will provide you with information on any specific preparation required.
What happens during a dual energy CT scan is identical to that for a standard CT scan (see Computed Tomography). You will not notice any difference in the examination whether you have a single energy or dual energy CT.
Dual energy CT itself is not associated with any immediate after effects. You should be able resume normal activities straight after the scan has been carried out.
Any potential after effects might be related to the injection of contrast medium if required (see Computed Tomography).
The time taken for a dual energy CT scan is no different to a single energy CT examination (see Computed Tomography).
There is no difference in the risks of dual energy CT when compared with single energy CT examinations (see Computed Tomography).
Some scanners using dual energy CT can use slightly higher radiation doses than single energy scanners. With newer computer ‘dose-saving’ techniques built into them, some dual energy CT scans use similar or even reduced radiation doses to standard single energy CT.
Most benefits of dual energy CT scans are no different to single energy CT scans (see Computed Tomography).
In addition, dual energy CT is better than standard CT by:
A radiologist (specialist doctor) decides on how the scan is to be carried out and whether dual energy scanning is appropriate for your problem. Sometimes this has already been decided following prior discussions with your own doctor. A radiographer (also known as medical imaging technologists) operates the dual energy CT scanner. The images taken by the radiographer are examined by the radiologist, who writes a report that is sent to your doctor.
Dual energy CT scanners are a relatively new technology, and are mostly used in radiology departments within hospitals. A few large private radiology practices do have such machines.
The time that it takes your doctor to receive a written report on the test or procedure you have had will vary, depending on:
Please feel free to ask the private practice, clinic, or hospital where you are having your test or procedure when your doctor is likely to have the written report.
It is important that you discuss the results with the doctor who referred you, either in person or on the telephone, so that they can explain what the results mean for you.
Last saved on 22 November 2016.
RANZCR® is not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon the opinions, advices or information contained in this publication or of the manner in which it might be possible to do so. It issues no invitation to any person to act or rely upon such opinions, advices or information or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them.
RANZCR® intends by this statement to exclude liability for any such opinions, advices or information. The content of this publication is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. It is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient and his/her doctor. Some of the tests and procedures included in this publication may not be available at all radiology providers.
RANZCR® recommends that any specific questions regarding any procedure be discussed with a person's family doctor or medical specialist. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, RANZCR®, its Board, officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use, or interpretation. Each person should rely on their own inquires before making decisions that touch their own interests.