“CT” scan, or “CAT” scan, are abbreviations of Computerised Tomography. A CT scan is a valuable diagnostic test that enables radiologists (doctors who specialise in this area) to visualise some areas of the body which cannot be seen using conventional X-Rays.
CT imaging produces a series of images that are reconstructed by a computer into cross-sectional views. Significant technological advancements in recent years have greatly reformed and refined treatment courses. We have some of the most advanced CT scanners available. Our scanners utilise the latest technology and software to ensure the lowest radiation dose possible.
Preparing for a CT scan
Please bring your referral (letter from your practitioner) and your Medicare and/or Pension Healthcare card with you to your appointment. It is important to bring all previous imaging relating to the region being scanned.
Depending on the area to be scanned you may be asked to follow special instructions. The preparation could include fasting before your test. You will be given all the relevant information when making your appointment.
When the abdomen or pelvis is examined, you may be given some contrast solution to drink before the scan. This helps to outline the bowel for the scan, making interpretation easier and more accurate. Some people find that these drinks can give rise to loose bowel motions and this should be remembered if you have to travel any distance or if you have difficulty with bowel control.
You will be asked to fill in a consent form and provide all relevant medical history.
For some CT examinations, an injection of contrast (X-Ray dye) into a vein in your arm is necessary to make the image clearer or to give extra diagnostic information. Some people may have an allergy to x-ray dye. If you have had a reaction before, please let us know in advance. In some selected cases, pre-medications can be given to reduce the risk of a reaction.
For those CT scans that may require the x-ray contrast injection the patient will be instructed to fast (no food) for 3 hours prior to Drinking water is encouraged. Please drink at least 500mls of water in the 3 hours fasting period prior to your scan. If available patients are encouraged to bring in a copy of your latest blood test results, from within the last 12 months, if available.
We understand that some patients are anxious about having tests performed. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask our staff. It is important that you are on time for your appointment to ensure there is sufficient time available to perform the procedure.
Please inform the radiographer if you are or you suspect you may be pregnant.
The radiographer will bring you into the CT room where you will be asked to lie down on the table. The radiographer will position the part of your body you are having scanned in the middle of the large doughnut-shaped scanner.
The radiographer is in full view and in communication with you throughout the scan. The scanner does not touch you, nor do you feel the X-Rays. The scanner does make a slight buzzing sound, and the table you are lying on will move in and out of the scanner. It is important that you lie very still and at some stage, you may be asked to briefly hold your breath as the image is taken.
Each CT scan is tailored to every patient’s needs. On average, the imaging time with our CT lasts less than five minutes. Generally, you will be in the CT scanner for 10–20 minutes overall.
Many exams require contrast (X-Ray dye) injection into a vein in the arm. This injection is associated with a warm flush and a metallic taste in the mouth. Some people may have an allergy to X-Ray dye. If you have had a previous reaction, please make our staff aware of this, prior to the scan.
When finished, you may get dressed and leave as instructed by the radiographer. You have no restrictions after having a CT scan and can go about your normal activities. To help eliminate the contrast medium from your body, you are required to drink plenty of fluids after the scan.
In most cases, your results will be sent electronically to your referrer.
Synergy Radiology strongly advises that you return to your practitioner, in order for your doctor to discuss your radiology report with you.
We understand that some patients are anxious about having tests performed. If you do have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask our staff.
Can I have a CT scan while pregnant or trying to conceive?
CT scanners use X-Rays. As X-Rays can harm a developing foetus it is important to tell your doctor and our staff if you are, or think you may be pregnant before you undergo the test.
Can I have a CT scan while breastfeeding?
If you are breastfeeding and need contrast as a part of your exam, you are required to stop breastfeeding for 24 hours after your CT scan. Speak to your referring doctor about expressing milk for storage.
Can I continue my medication before a CT scan?
For certain CT scans some medications need to be ceased. At the time of booking the patient will be told exactly what to stop taking. Unless otherwise instructed all medication should be continued.
How long will the CT scan take?
This varies, depending on the region of the body being scanned. Generally, a CT scan takes 10–20 minutes. Please inquire when you make your appointment.
Can I eat or drive after a CT scan?
You have no restrictions after having a CT scan and can go about your normal activities.
Do I have to take my clothes off for my CT scan?
Depending on the region of the body being imaged, the radiographer may ask you to change into a gown.
Will the radiographer performing my scan, be able to tell me the results?
It is the radiographer’s duty to perform the test and ensure the images are clear for the radiologist (specialist) to interpret them.