A CT (computerised tomography) scan is a non-invasive medical test used to diagnose and monitor medical conditions. It is a fast and highly effective tool which provides detailed, cross-sectional views of areas of the body that may be hard to reach.
To find out more about having a CT scan at Spire Washington Hospital give us a call now on
0191 418 8629
How does the CT scan work?
The CT scan uses specialised X-ray equipment and a computer to create images of the inside of your body. Whereas a standard X-ray only sends out one beam to capture the image, in a CT scan - several beams of X-ray are sent out at different angles. This creates a much more detailed picture in two or three dimensions. Bones, internal organs, soft tissue and the brain can all be viewed in detail through the CT scan, to help diagnose inflammation, disease and cancer and monitor many other health conditions.
What does a CT scan involve?
The CT scan is a painless procedure which takes place in a large, doughnut shaped machine. In order for the images to be taken you will be asked to lie on a table that can slide in and out of the scanning machine. Unlike an MRI scan, where you're placed inside a tunnel, you shouldn't feel claustrophobic. Sufferers of severe claustrophobia may have problems with the procedure however so please discuss this with your consultant or radiographer.
The radiographer will adjust this slowly to position the part of your body that needs to be scanned in the centre of the scanner. It is important to relax and lie still so that the CT scanner can take accurate images. For some scans, you may have an injection of a dye (contrast medium) or be asked to drink a liquid that will help to improve the quality of the scan. These dyes are removed from the blood by the kidney and passed out through the urine harmlessly.
How long does a scan last?
The whole scanning process will take between 15 minutes and one hour, depending on the different angles and number of pictures needed.
Is a CT scan safe?
CT scans are generally considered safe however you will be exposed to slightly increased levels of raditation than other imaging tests although this is still very low. To give you an idea of what level we're talking about, an hour long scan exposes you to the same amount of radiation as an aeroplane flight to Florida.
What should you wear to a CT Scan?
We normally suggest that patients coming for a CT scan wear loose and comforable clothing on the day of their appointment. In cases where you are having the chest and/or abdomen scanned you will most likely be asked to wear a gown while your scan is perfomed.
CT scans can be used to look at:
- Internal organs: CT scans are often used to examine the chest and abdomen. They can provide clear images of different types of tissue, such as the liver, intestine and kidneys; helping to identify a range of conditions including pneumonia and kidney tears.
- Soft tissue: CT scans are used to identify abnormal tissue in areas such as the pancreas, liver and blood vessels. This can help to diagnose different types of cancer.
- Brain: CT scans of the head can check for bleeding, blood clots and suspected tumours in the brain.
- Blood and bone density: CT scans are able to take pictures of bones and the surrounding muscles and blood vessels. This is useful when looking at the condition of blood vessels and bone disease, such as osteoporosis.
CT scan aftercare
When the images from the CT scan have been processed, the radiologist will use them to inform their diagnosis. Your doctor will then discuss with you whether any further treatment needs to be undertaken.
What does a CT scan cost?
Costs will depend on your specific requirements however for a guide price please visit our prices page. Contact us today on 0191 418 8629 to find out more.
Appointments and enquiries
To arrange an appointment you will need a referral from your GP or consultant. For all enquiries, or to make an appointment, call 0191 418 8629 or email us at email@example.com.