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​What happens during a CT scan

You will lie still on a table that slides in and out of the CT scan gantry.

The X-ray tube inside the CT scanner will rotate around your body and take X-ray images at various angles. You may be asked to hold your breath for a short while during the scan. At any time, you may communicate with the radiographer through the intercom.

  • A CT scan examination is painless and the majority of routine scans take approximately 5-15 minutes to complete, depending on the area being scanned and the complexity of the protocols involved.
  • Depending on the type and region of scan requested, many CT scans require an iodinated contrast dye to be administered into your body via a vein in your arm or hand.
  • During the course of the injection, you may feel a warm sensation all over the body. This is normal. The dye will increase the visibility of organs and other structures as well as the presence of disease. A diagnostic radiologist will interpret the images and submit a report to your doctor.

How to prepare for a CT scan

  • Some scans requiring intravenous injection of iodine containing dye require fasting for four hours before the scan. You can take your usual medications. For a pelvic CT scan, you may be instructed not to empty your bladder at least one hour before the scan.
  • You will need to remove any jewellery or metallic objects. Metal may interfere with the X-rays and cause artefacts on the images.
  • You will need to lie very still and hold your breath when instructed. This will help to ensure that the images taken are clear and sharp.​

For more information on what​ is a C​​T scan​​​, see previous page.

Ref: R14