CT Scanning

CTWhat is a CT scan?

A CT scan stands for Computed Tomography scan. It is also known as a CAT (Computer Axial Tomography) scan.

A CT scanner shines several X-rays through the body at the same time and is used to create very highly detailed images that appear as slices or cross-sections of your body. They can be two or three dimensional.

A CT scan is used for the diagnosis and monitoring of a broad range of medical conditions. It is most commonly used to look at organs, bones and the brain.

What happens during a CT scan?

Firstly, our radiographer will take the time to explain everything to you.

The scanner is a large ring shape rather like a giant doughnut. You will be asked to lie down upon a sliding bed which will move slowly in and out of the centre of the scanner. Nothing touches you during the scan but you will hear the scanner working – it produces a whirring noise.

The radiographer may ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds, this is completely normal.

In some instances it may be necessary for a type of dye called 'contrast medium' to be given as an injection. The dye allows us to see certain parts of the body more clearly. It is completely safe and causes only a warm sensation as it travels around your body.

How long does a CT scan take?

A CT scan typically takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

Can I bring someone with me?

Yes, we are happy for a friend or family member to accompany you. However, only in exceptional circumstances do we allow them to accompany you during examination; this is for health and safety reasons.

Are there any side effects?

A CT scan uses multiple X-rays. The risk and radiation associated with the procedure is very low and the procedure is considered suitable for most patients.

However, CT scans are not safe for, or given to, pregnant women unless they have a serious medical condition which requires diagnostic imaging. If you think you may be pregnant, it is important to tell us before the day of your appointment.

What happens after a CT scan?

After your scan, you can go home.


This information is also available on a downloadable patient information sheet.

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