Home Gesundheit Die Wahrheit über Ganzkörperscans

Die Wahrheit über Ganzkörperscans

von NFI Redaktion

As you drive through certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles, you may discover just as many signs advertising body scans as burger joints. Or perhaps you’ve seen the ads on TV or online: „Protect your health! Get a body scan now!“

Is full-body CT scanning really possible – and what are the risks? And are DEXA scans a good way to assess your body composition?

Although the technologies are different, most of these high-tech examinations utilize computed tomography (CT) scans to examine your entire body or specific parts such as the heart and lungs in an attempt to detect dangerous diseases in earlier, more treatable stages.

During the 15- or 20-minute scan, you will lie in a donut-shaped machine while an imaging device rotates around you, emitting radiation. The technique combines multiple X-ray images and creates cross-sectional views of your body using a computer. By examining these views, a doctor can look for early signs of abnormalities.

The scans are not cheap – full body scans cost between $500 and $1,000 per scan and are usually not covered by insurance. And the question of how helpful these scans really are is a topic of debate among medical experts.

Advocates promote scans as an intelligent component of routine physical examinations. But if you are healthy and have no concerning symptoms, a scan is usually not justified, says Arl Van Moore, MD, radiologist and clinical assistant professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who also serves as a spokesperson for the American College of Radiology (ACR).

According to the official ACR position, there is not enough evidence to recommend scans for individuals without symptoms or a family history of disease. However, Van Moore sees a potential exception. „Individuals at high risk for lung cancer, such as current smokers or individuals with a long history of smoking, may benefit from it,“ he says.

For healthy individuals, scans can cause undue worry – for example, because they may find something that turns out to be harmless. Additionally, radiation exposure, especially with frequent scans, is another issue. If scans are performed too frequently, the radiation exposure can ultimately increase the number of cancer cases, according to a 2004 report from the journal Radiology.

The American College of Preventive Medicine states that full body scans „are not very good at detecting cancer in asymptomatic individuals“ and that the radiation received from these scans can increase your risk of cancer.

Before you schedule a body scan, talk to your doctor about your overall health risks and how a scan may or may not help you. Ask yourself:

  • What is your history? Do you have a personal or family history of lung disease, heart disease, or certain types of cancer?
  • Have you inhaled? Are you a long-term smoker?
  • If so, for how long? Even if you have quit smoking, how many years were you an active smoker?

This is a different type of scan called DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry). You may have heard of DEXA scans which allow you to check bone density to determine if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia. It uses weak X-rays to assess your body composition, such as how much body fat you have and where it is located in your body.

There are various ways to measure your body fat percentage. Experts have told WebMD in the past that DEXA scanning is a „very good technique“ and „one of the most accurate methods on the market.“ Researchers have referred to it as the „gold standard“ for assessing body composition – especially of bones, fat, and muscles. However, it is not covered by insurance unless you are getting a DEXA scan to check bone density. The cost of a DEXA scan varies and can start at around $75 in some cases.

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