Please note that a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.
About CT - computed tomography
Computed tomography (CT) is a painless, non-invasive scan used to detect many diseases and injuries. A CT scan takes a series of x-ray images from many angles around you and these images are then processed to produce cross-sectional images of your
What you should know
- It is helpful if you wear comfortable clothes without any metal such as zips, underwires, metal buttons etc., as you may be asked to remove metallic objects or to change into a gown.
- For some CT scans, you may be advised when making your appointment that you will need to have CT contrast dye. If you require oral contrast, you will need to attend an hour before your appointment.
- If you were informed that you will require intravenous contrast dye (an injection through a vein in your arm), you will need to bring a copy of blood results (including urea and creatinine levels) performed within six months of your appointment. Please confirm the details of this as you may need to organise up-to-date blood tests before your appointment.
- If you have ever had an allergy to contrast dye, inform the scheduling team when making your appointment. Further information on contrast agents used is available below.
- If you are having a cardiac CT scan, you will need to follow specific information which is available in CT cardiac coronary angiogram patient information leaflet below.
- If you are having a CT colon scan, you will need to follow specific information which is available in CT colonoscopy patient information leaflet below.
- The radiographer will ask you to complete a pregnancy declaration form. You must be able to select an option that shows that there is no chance you are pregnant to proceed with your scan.
- You will be asked to lie on the CT scanner table and you may be connected to a contrast injector if required for your scan.
- You will be required to lie as still as possible and you may be asked to follow breathing instructions.
- The images are acquired as the table moves back and forth through a “donut-shaped” machine.
For most outpatient appointments, you will be able to leave immediately after your procedure and there are typically no restrictions on eating, drinking or driving following your scan. If you had an injection of contrast dye, you may be asked to wait for several minutes before leaving.
Your scan will be reported by a consultant radiologist. The results will be sent directly to your referring doctor.
We are all exposed to natural background radiation every day. Medical exposures give a small additional dose on top of natural radiation.
The amount of radiation received during a CT is low, resulting in the equivalent of approximately a few months to two year’s background radiation.
The only effect on the patient that is known to be possible at these low doses is a very slight increase in the chance of cancer occurring many years or decades after the exposure.
As long as it is clearly necessary to help make the correct diagnosis and treatment decision, the benefits of detection, diagnosis and treatment resulting from the CT examination should outweigh these small radiation risks.