CT Scans are a series of x-rays images taken in fine slices of less than 1mm thick.
The slices are then collated for analysis. By taking “slices” the technology is much more detailed than a single x-ray. Each scan is specifically created for the condition and body part being investigated. Several sets of images in different angles/directions are usually taken.
- Brain, bones, inner ear and spine require no specific preparation.
- Abdomen CT scan requires either an injection or drinking of an iodinated contrast materal to outline blood vessels and organs more satisfactorily. For this test, you must fast for 4 hours (with a small amount of water) before the scan. Please advise when booking test if there are any special dietary requirements.
- Patients should wear loose comfortable clothes (no zippers, buttons, jewellery or metallic accessories).
- Patients should arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork
- Patients must bring their request/referral form on the day (or check that their request/referral is at the practice)
- Notify Lakes Radiology team of any allergies, existing medications and if there is a chance you could be pregnant
CT Scans are each unique in that it is usually tailored to each person and their condition. Predominantly the procedure is outlined below
- The patient will drink the iodinated contrast 1 hour before your appointment (if required)
- The patient will change into a gown then taken to the CT scanning room
- The patient will lie on a bed which will slide in and out of a circular donut type shaped scanner. A test scan/s are taken to test the equipment
- The technician will talk to you during the scan, asking you to lie still, hold your breath and other instructions.
- The technician will administer the iodinated contrast injection (if required)
- The technician will check the images to ensure appropriate scans have been taken
- The technician will come into the room to assist you off the bed
- If you have had a cannula inserted, the technician will check the cannula site and ensure the patient is able to leave
- The patient should not carry or lift anything heavy for about an hour after the removal of the cannula
Risks or Side Effects
The majority of people do not have any adverse effect from a CT scan.
- After the test, you should be able to eat and drink as normal and resume regular activities.
- Some patients do experience a strange metallic taste and a warm body sensation (usually around the groin or buttocks) if an iodinated contrast is injected, however this usually disappears very quickly.
- There is a rare risk of an allergic reaction to the iodinated contrast. If the patient experiences any vomiting, rash, itching, dizziness or headache the patient should advise the technologist or receptionist immediately.
- At Lakes Radiology, we minimise this risk with low-radiation equipment, protective lead shields for sensitive areas and highly-targeted scanning, therefore minimising the small risk associated with the small level of radiation exposure during a CT scan.