ERAD Radiology

Computed Tomography (CT) Scans

What is a CT Scan?

Computed Tomography, more commonly known as CT Imaging or CAT scan, is a series of X-rays that provide detailed information about the structure of the human body. 

Using special image data acquired at different angles, advanced computer software allows the radiologist to examine 3-dimensional views of your body’s bones, internal organs and tissues.

CT imaging is one of the best tools for studying the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and complex fractures. A CAT Scan is used to diagnose diseases, guide biopsies, and plan medical and surgical treatments such as joint injections and other minimally invasive procedures.

Types of CT Scans

At ERAD we offer several types of CT scans, including:

Reasons you could be referred for a CT Scan

What to expect during your CT Scan

  • You’ll be asked to lie down on a narrow table which slides into the tube-shaped scanner during the examination. You may be given pillows to help you maintain your position during the procedure.
  • The CT scanner creates its image by rotating the centre of the ring around your body. You will need to lie extremely still during this process to avoid blurring the images.
  • The scanner often makes whirring and buzzing noises. That’s completely normal so try not to focus on what’s happening around you and just relax.
  • During some CT scans, a contrast dye may be required to optimise the visualisation of internal structures. If dye is used, it may give you a metallic taste in your mouth and a hot flush. These sensations are normal and will pass within minutes.
  • You can always speak to your radiographer during the procedure. There is an intercom which allows you to hear and speak to each other.
  • The scan itself takes only a few minutes, but the entire process takes roughly half an hour.

Patient Safety/Risks

  • A CT Scan involves mild exposure to radiation in the form of an X-ray.
  • We take special care during CT examinations to ensure maximum safety for you, the patient. You’re given a lead apron to shield your abdomen and pelvis unless those areas form part of the test.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Women should always inform their doctor or radiographer if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • Nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after a contrast material injection before resuming breastfeeding.
  • There is a risk of having an allergic reaction which may be serious whenever contrast material containing iodine is injected, but this is rare. We take every precaution to ensure your safety. If you know you’re allergic to contrast, your doctor may advise that you take special medication prior to the procedure to reduce the chance of an allergic reaction.
  • A contrast injection should be avoided in patients with kidney disease or severe diabetes. Please make sure you inform your radiographer before the test begins.
  • In exceptional circumstances, a large amount of X-ray contrast may leak out under the skin where the IV is placed, and skin damage can result. The ERAD team takes every precaution, but should this occur, we’re equipped to deal with the situation immediately. If you feel any pain during the contrast injection, don’t hesitate to inform the radiographer immediately. Your wellbeing is our priority.

Preparing for your CT Scan

  • Some CT examinations need to use a contrast dye. In this instance you’ll need to collect the contrast material from the ERAD reception desk a day or two before your appointment. We will provide instructions on the amount and times you will need to drink the contrast material.
  • If you’ve had an allergic reaction to the contrast dye in the past, please alert your healthcare provider.
  • If this is your first time drinking the contrast material, and you experience itching or a mild rash, contact your doctor. In rare cases, a reaction can be life-threatening.
  • Depending on the type of CT exam, you may not be allowed to eat solid foods leading up to the examination. Speak to your healthcare provider for specific instructions.

The following examinations require preparation:

Abdomen, Pelvis and Chest

  • No solid foods 4 hours before the examination.
  • Please pick up the preparation medication at the ERAD reception desk.

Chest Only

  • No solid foods 4 hours before the examination.
  • Drink 500ml of water one hour before the examination.
  • Patient may empty his/her bladder prior to the test.

Head With and Without Contrast

  • No solid food 4 hours before the examination.
  • Drink 500ml of water one hour before the examination.

Urology

  • No solid food 4 hours before the examination.
  • Drink 500ml of water one hour before the examination.
  • You may empty your bladder prior to the test.

Neck

  • No solid food 4 hours before the examination.
  • Drink 500ml of water one hour before the examination.

Colonoscopy

  • Please pick up the preparation medication at the ERAD reception desk.

What happens once your scan is complete?

  • As soon as the scan is done, you can go home or back to your ward if you are staying in the hospital. If you’ve had a contrast dye injection, we may ask you to stay a few minutes to monitor that there is no sign of an allergic reaction.
  • You can eat, drink and resume your usual activities straight after the scan.
  • We recommend you drink plenty of water if you’ve been given contrast dye to help remove it from your kidneys.
  • Once the scan is done, your radiographer will ensure they’ve obtained diagnostic quality images, and the results will be passed on to your referring doctor.

CT Scan FAQs

Review our FAQs to help prepare you for your upcoming CT Scan.

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