COMPUTED
TOMOGRAPHY
CT SCANNING

CT scanning

  • What – an CT scanner uses X-rays to look in detail at tissue density. It involves exposing you to a small amount of ionizing radiation. The CT scan procedure is painless but you may need a needle in your hand for delivery of a contrast agent to enhance the images.

  • Why – an CT scan may be requested for many reasons but is usually performed to assess and look for structural abnormalities or variations inside the tissues of your body.

  • Preparation – no specific preparation for the CT scan is usually required. The scan itself will involve lying on a table and the relevant part of your body entering a big metal doughnut. The scan usually takes only a 10-15 minutes to perform depending upon the number of image sequences required. You will be required to keep very still throughout in order to get the best images.

  • Risk – the procedure is painless but CT scanning does involve exposing your body to X-ray radiation and as a result there is a very small risk of DNA damage that could potentially lead to cancer. It is important that this risk is not overstated as it is very small and similar to having a series of plane film X-rays. There is also as ever a very small risk that someone could react seriously to any injection and this includes the contrast agent that may be required. Again this risk is very small.

  • How long will it take – an CT scan takes usually 10-15 minutes to perform depending upon the number of image sequences required. Remember to turn up in good time and that there could also be a queue!