Why do we use CT Scanners?
The computerized tomography (CT) scanner gives detailed images of the inside of the body. It uses X-rays and powerful computer software to generate cross-sectional pictures of the soft tissues and bones inside the body, which can be used to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions.
How does CT work?
CT uses specialised X-ray equipment and a computer to create images of the inside of your body. Whereas a standard x-ray sends out only one beam to capture the image, in a CT scan several beams of x-ray are sent out at different angles. This creates a much more detailed picture in two or three dimensions. Bones, internal organs, soft tissue and the brain can all be viewed in detail through the CT scan, to help diagnose inflammation, disease and cancer, and monitor many other health conditions.
What does a CT scan involve?
On the day of your scan you might have to drink some liquid that contains contrast (visible on the scan). You might need a cannula (small plastic tube) placed into a vein to enable the radiographer to give you intravenous contrast. The scan itself is painless and takes place in a doughnut-shaped machine. The machine is fairly open, but people with severe claustrophobia may have problems with the procedure and should discuss this with their specialist before the scan. To enable the machine to take images, you lie on your back on a table that moves in and out of the scanner. The radiographer will adjust your position to focus on the desired area. During the scanning process, try to relax and lie still so that the CT scanner can take accurate images. The whole scanning process will take between 15 minutes and one hour, depending on the different angles and number of pictures needed.
CT scan aftercare
Once your CT scan is complete, you will be able to go home and return to normal activities immediately. The images are put together on the computer and then analyzed in detail by the radiologist (Consultant with expertise in radiology). The report will be sent to your Consultant who will then be able to discuss the findings with you.
Our consultant has very close working relationships with the radiologists who report CT scans. This is important as scans are often more accurate when there is good clinical information available to the radiologist.