What is a CT scan?
CT or Computerised Tomography scanning uses X-rays to provide images of anywhere in the body. CT scans can be performed for a number of reasons. Most commonly this is to diagnoses any underlying condition. Sometimes, CT scans can be performed to assess the response to treatment. The CT scanner can produce over 500 images of the internal structure of the body. This digital information can be viewed as 2D or 3D images of the internal organs on a computer. The images will be viewed and reported by an expert radiologist who specialises in the field. The report is sent to your surgeon who will discuss the findings with you in the clinic.
Do I need any preparation for a CT scan?
The radiology department that performs the scan will be in touch to make an appointment. They may ask various questions including:
Do you have kidney disease?
Are you diabetic?
Are you allergic to iodine?
Are you pregnant?
Can you lie flat?
Do you weigh more than 125kg?
Often, you will need to arrive half an hour before your appointment in case you need to drink liquid (oral contrast) that can outline the bowel for your scan. If you are having a specialized CT scan of your bowel the preparation is different (see CT Colonography). Usually, you will have had a small plastic tube, a cannula, inserted into a vein in your arm, to allow injection of a dye. This dye, usually based on iodine, helps to provide superior images of the blood vessels and internal organs. The injection may make you feel flushed and give you a metallic taste.
Once you are in the scanning room, you will be asked to lie on a couch, which then moves you through the circular scanner. It does not take long and all you need to do is keep still. Most scans only take a few minutes, but you may be in the radiology department for an hour or so. Afterwards you can simply go home and should be safe to drive yourself.