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WHAT TO EXPECT 
FOR A
CT SCAN

Before a CT Scan     

Computed tomography (CT or CAT Scan) is a computerized x-ray imaging to produce slices of cross sectional images of the body. The result is a more detailed image (tomographic image) of any body part, that can show abnormalities in the soft tissue of organs, bones, muscles and blood vessels.

 

FOOD or DRINK:

  • If your doctor ordered a CT scan without contrast, you can eat, drink and take your prescribed medications prior to your exam.

  • For CT scan with contrast, do not eat anything three hours prior to your CT scan.

  • You are encouraged to drink clear liquids. You may also take your prescribed medications prior to your exam
     

Inform your healthcare provider if you:

  •  Have drug allergies 

  •  Kidney problems

  •  Are / might be pregnant

  •  Take diabetic medicine

  •  Have other existing medical conditions

  • Take any medicines, including vitamins, herbs, and supplements. Ask if it's OK to take them before the test.


Tell the staff if you’ve had a reaction to contrast media (a special X-ray dye) previously. Also inform our staff of any kidney function problems.

Double contrast study is a CT scan exam that will require you to drink contrast media orally beforehand, in addition to the IV contrast.

All the information is necessary to ensure safety and to help us serve u better.

During a CT Scan  

 

Upon arrival:

  • you may be asked to complete a questionnaire about your health and medical history.

  • For scans requiring contrast media, you will be required to sign a consent form showing risks and side-effects associated with contrast media injected intravenously (IV).

  • You will need to remove jewelleries or any metal objects that are around your scan regions.  This includes watches, earrings, necklaces, piercings (such as ear, nipple, nose rings), dentures, hearing aids, women’s bra and wigs (some wigs contain traces of metal). You are advised to remove them at home and for safe keep.

  • Depending on which part of your body is being scanned, you may need to change to a clinic gown for the procedure. 

  • For CT scan of the abdomen / pelvis, you may be required to arrive an hour earlier to drink the oral contrast media, in preparation for the scan.

During your test:

  •  You may be given contrast media intravenously. An IV plug will be set by a doctor prior to this.

  •  You will lie on a CT table, which slides into the CT scanner. The staff will run the CT scanner from a control room, and be able to hear and talk to you.

  • Relax, lie still as any movement will result in poor quality images. The staff will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan.

  • Alert the staff if you encounter chest pain or heart palpitations, have difficulty breathing, or feel a swelling in the throat.

Note with IV contrast, you may experience these temporary side effects which would go away in a few seconds:

  • Feel warm 

  • Have a metallic taste in your mouth

  • Feel the urge to pass urine

  • Your safety and success of your scan is of utmost importance and we want you to enjoy a hassle free experience at our centre.

After a CT Scan  

  • A CT scan is usually an outpatient procedure, and you will not need to stay in hospital overnight. Usually you can go home soon afterwards.

  • If a contrast was used, you may be advised to wait for up to an hour to make sure you don't have a reaction to it.

  • Generally the intravenous contrast is excreted within one or two hours by the kidneys

  • You can eat and drink, go to work and drive and resume  normal activities.

  • Your CT scan needs to be studied by a radiologist and possibly discussed with other specialists. 

  • A report will be sent to the doctor who arranged the scan, and your doctor will discuss the results with you. 

  • It usually takes 1 - 2 days for the results of a CT scan to come through unless they are needed urgently.