What is a CT scan?
A CT (computerised tomography) is an X-ray examination that allows us to look at your body in cross section.
Using the CT scanner and a powerful computer, we can build images of the whole body showing both soft tissue and bone and see other parts of the body which can sometimes be difficult to visualise.
Some scans require no preparation while others require you to fast from food up to 4 hours before the procedure. Fluids are acceptable.
For some examinations you may need to drink a litre of water an hour before you arrive, while others you may need to have 3 special drinks. These drinks enable us to look closely at your bowel and other organs within the abdomen.
These instructions will be explained to you when your appointment is made.
If you use reading glasses please bring them
Non-English speaking patients to bring a companion who speaks or reads English
Patient with Diabetes - please bring a list of your diabetes mediations
Before the examination, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding your health status, medications and any known allergies.
Do I have an injection?
For some examinations you may be given an intravenous injection of contrast medium to give the Radiologist extra diagnostic information. A consent form will be given to you prior to the examination.
Are there any side effects?
If you have an injection of contrast you may notice a sensation of warmth and a metallic taste in the mouth. Very occasionally transient side effects such as nausea or an itchy rash may occur, but other reactions are extremely rare.
If there is a chance you may be pregnant please advise us before the scan.
You will be asked to lie on a table which is moved into the centre of the scanner. This contains the x-ray tube and sensitive detectors. These rotate around the part of the body that is being examined but will not touch you.
The CT staff will go into the control room to operate the scanner. They can see you, hear you speak and can talk to you via an intercom. You may need to hold your breath for short periods of time while the CT scanner is taking images.
How long will the procedure take?
Most examinations will be completed within 30 minutes, although attendance may take up to 2 hours from some scans.
What happens after the scan?
Once the scan is completed the Radiographer and Radiologist will look at the CT data to ensure all the necessary images have been taken. The information from the scan is then processed by a computer to produce cross-sectional images which is then reviewed and reported by the Radiologist.
Due to the large number of images produced and the complex post scan processing required; the review of these CTs can take several hours. The results will be sent to your referring Doctor.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call us.
What do I do now?
To make an appointment for your CT scan please call our freephone 0800 466 564.