Answer to Question #14228 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Diagnostic X Ray and CT

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I recently went in for a chest CT (computed tomography) scan for possible pulmonary embolism (PE). The scan was done both with and without contrast. I was instructed not to wear a gown. I let everyone involved know my bra had metal underwiring, and a metal clasp in the back. The technologist informed me I did not have to take off the bra. The results of the scan did not show any PE. Now I am worried that the results are not reliable due to the underwire and the metal clasp causing "artifacts." Are the results from the scan chest CT scan reliable? Should I be worried?


Unfortunately, it is not possible to assess the image quality of a CT scan without access to the images themselves. Generally, the presence of an underwire bra has a negligible effect on image quality and patient dose. Many sites do recommend removing underwire bras for chest CTs, but a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology in 2014 showed that artifacts that negatively impact the diagnosis were not introduced in any of the patients who underwent a chest CT while wearing a bra.

So, you shouldn't be worried about the results.

Deirdre H. Elder, MS, CHP, CMLSO

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