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CT (Computerised Tomography)

What is a CT?

A computerised tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body. CT scans are sometimes referred to as CAT scans or computed tomography scans.

Is it safe?

CT scans are quick, painless and generally safe. However, you will be exposed to small does of X-ray radiation that will vary depending on how much of your body is scanned. The benefits and risks of having a CT scan will always be evaluated before it is recommended by your clinical team.

Many CT scans also involve injecting a dye (known as a ‘contrast dye’) into a vein to increase clarity of body tissues on the scan. As with all injections, there is a small risk you could have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used but our expert medical team on site is well equipped to support you if this happens.

Will it be comfortable?

We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible. The CT scan itself is not disruptive.

Preparation

Few simple instructions before your scan:

* Contact us, after receiving your appointment letter, if you have any allergies, kidney problems, taking diabetes medication, or if you are pregnant

* You may be advised to avoid eating anything for several hours before your appointment, to help ensure that clear images are taken

* Ensure you wear loose comfortable clothes and leave valuable possessions, such as jewellery and watches, at home

The Scan/What to expect

CT scans typically last 15-30 minutes and are not disruptive.

For patients having a contrast dye, this is given at the beginning of the scan and may produce a warm feeling in the body and a sour taste in the mouth – this is very common and passes quickly.

After the scan

Patients who have been given a contrast injection may be asked to stay in the waiting area for up to 15 minutes to ensure that they are fit and well.

Fluid intake following scans is always encouraged. Results are usually ready within 24-48 hours and send to the referring clinician. All patients are supplied with a CD consisting of the images from their scan.