CT scans provide detailed information on body parts when compared to traditional X-rays and can be performed on any part of the body.
A computerised tomography (CT) scan works by combining a selection of X-ray images taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images of blood vessels, soft tissues and bones inside the body.
CT scans are commonly used to diagnose conditions such as cancer. However, they can also help determine the shape, size and location of the cancer before having radiotherapy.
CT scans are also used to monitor cancers to check how the tumour has responded to any treatment the patient may have had.
Before the CT scan you may be given a special dye called a contrast to help improve image quality. Depending on the area being examined, the dye may be swallowed, injected, or passed into your bottom.
CT scans are painless, quick and generally safe. This is typically an outpatient procedure and you can continue with your daily activities afterwards as usual. If a contrast was used, you may be asked to wait in the clinic for about an hour to make sure you don’t have a reaction, however it’s very uncommon for there to be a reaction.
CT Angiography uses a CT scanner to create detailed images of tissues and blood vessels in various parts of the body. It’s used commonly to look at the blood vessels in your neck, brain, heart, lungs and kidneys.
Sometimes, an iodine-rich dye will be injected through a catheter placed in a vein in the arm. This allows the targeted areas to display clearer on the scan. You will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted and a warm flush sensation.
Once the scan is complete, a special computer will be used to examine the area. CT Angiography is generally a quick and painless procedure. Typically, the patient will only need to lie down for a short period of time and can continue with their day as usual once the scan is complete.
In some cases, CT Angiography can eliminate the need for surgery. Or, if surgery is still necessary, it will be carried out much more accurately. Many patients can receive CT Angiography rather than catheter angiography, which is a more invasive procedure which can require a general anaesthetic.
CT Colonography is a unique form of CT scan which can be used to obtain an inside view of the large bowel (colon).
CT Colonography is an alternative way of examining the bowel to a colonoscopy. This is a minimally invasive test we conduct to directly identify colon polyps and cancer cells. By identifying cancer cells and polyps early it is possible to prevent cancer from developing (in some cases) or improve the chances of survival for those diagnosed with colon cancer.
Before the scan you will be asked to take a laxative and fast from midnight the night before your scan. The exam is generally fast, easy and painless. The procedure itself takes around 20 minutes, so your time in the clinic should be no longer than an hour.
At the start of the scan, you will be required to lie on your side on the scanner table. A short tube is then placed in the rectum and some gas will be gently puffed through the tube so the colon can be properly viewed in the scan. Following this, you will be asked by the radiographer to turn and lie on your back and then your front while the CT scanner examines your colon.
Once the test is finished, you’re free to carry on with your day-to-day activities, as there is no sedation required.