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CT scan

CT scanning

Diagnosis using CT scanning

A CT scan (computerised tomography) is a technique that uses x-rays and a computer to produce images of different parts of the body. The body is scanned in ‘slices’ and the computer analyses the information from each slice to produce a picture of the relevant part of your body.

What to expect during a CT scan

You may be asked to remove clothing or jewellery or change into a patient gown. A private changing area and locker for your personal items is provided for your use during the examination.

It is more than likely that a special solution will be used (known as a contrast medium) to help parts of the body show better on the scans. This is often administered in the form of an injection but could also be a drink you are asked to swallow. You will be informed of the nature of this and what to expect prior to the scan. Again, the radiographers will talk you through every step of the process.

To take the scan, you will be asked to lie on a couch that will move you into the correct position within the scanner. The scanner itself looks like a giant doughnut. There is nothing to feel during the scan but you will be asked to lie still and you will hear some noises as the scan is performed. The radiographers may speak to you during your scan with specific instructions for you. They will talk you through the process before the scan begins.

Depending on the nature of the scan, you may be in the scanner room between 20 and 40 minutes.

As the scan is happening, the operator will be away from the machine monitoring you through a glass window.

Female patients up to age 55 will be asked for the date of their last menstrual period (LMP). If you are unsure, then you will be asked to take a pregnancy test prior to the scan being performed.

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