Q. How to calculate the radiation dose from three scout scans?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 26, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

I had a CT scan of the chest and abdomen. What is odd about this scan is that the technician did three scout scans before the final helical scan, which made me uncomfortable because I do not know how much radiation I received in those scans. When I got the CD, I looked at the dose report and it only reported the radiation dosage for the helical scan. The data for the scout scan is just dashed. So, I called the clinic and asked them for the radiation dose of the scout scans, and I was promised that someone will return my call with the requested information. But, I never got any callback. Is the radiation dose for the scout scans actually on the CD the clinic gave me and if so, can you help me extract that information? I have attached the reports.



Welcome to

  • I have seen the reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity). From calculations, the total radiation dose received by you during the CT scan is likely 10 mSv.
  • Please note that scout images give low dose and three scout images will not significantly increase the total radiation. It is not possible to exactly measure the radiation from scout images without additional information from the machine display.
  • In other words, you should not worry regarding the three scout images which were acquired. The dose information is an approximate value keeping in mind your age and the investigation. There are other factors like the machine used and the CT scan tube, which also has a role in dose emission, but these factors do not greatly impact the outcome of total radiation dose to the patient.

Hope your query is answered. Please do write back if you have any doubts.

For further queries consult a radiologist online -->

Hi doctor,

Thank you for replying. Do these tomography machines enforce a low radiation dose for scout scans, or that dose is actually set by the operator of the machine? I am uncomfortable because the staff was not friendly, and I worry that they might have given me a high dose.



Welcome back to

  • The scout scans are basically to plan the actual CT scan images and the machines enforce a low dose for the scout scans.
  • The operator cannot change and increase the radiation dose during scout scans to cause any health concern.


For further queries consult a radiologist online -->

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