Computed Tomography (CT)

 

International Radiology Centre houses eminent expertise in Computerised Tomography (CT) diagnosis and reporting. Hand in hand with our technology and systems this means that our capability here is second to none.

What CT is

CT uses computer and X-rays to produce detailed images of the body’s interior – the organs, bones and blood vessels for example.

Effectively CT is used to diagnose conditions such as cancer, strokes, damaged bones, organs or problems with blood flow. It is also employed to guide or monitor treatment; one example being to establish the size of a tumor and to take biopsies.

Undergoing a CT investigation is painless, fast and significantly safe. However there is a small chance that any contrast used (explained below) may cause an allergic reaction. Furthermore patients are exposed to X-ray radiation usually equivalent to a few months or a few years natural radiation from the surrounding environment.

Preparing for a CT scan

An advance communication from IRC will inform the patient how he or she needs to prepare for the CT scan.

For example no food intake for several hours prior to the appointment may be a requirement but this depends on the procedure.

Prior to the scan, patients may also be given a dye, called a contrast in order to help improve the detailing in the images. Dependent on the area or part of the body, this may be taken orally, injected into a blood vessel or otherwise passed into the rectum.

Patients who have had adverse reactions to contrast in the past or who have allergies, problems with their kidneys, take medication for diabetes or blood thinners, will need to inform our staff in advance.

Moreover it is important for our female patients to inform us whether they are pregnant. This is because - as mentioned - CT uses X-rays and unless it is a emergency, is not recommended.

Comfortable clothing with no metal is required. Jewellery, eyeglasses and metal objects that could interfere with the X-ray images need removing. Alternatively we will ask patients to change into a gown.

What does the procedure involve?

Patients are positioned on a bed most often on lying on their backs. He or she then passes through the CT scanner - a ring that circles round part of the body. A sense of claustrophobia is unusual as the ring does not cover the whole body.

A radiographer operates the scan from a separate room and communicates with the patient, who is visible, through an intercom.

It is important that the patient lies still while images are being taken and at some points may be asked to breath in, breathe out or hold their breath.

How long does a CT investigation take?

CT scans take up to 20 minutes or thereabouts. Patients who have taken contrast may be asked to stay however for around an hour afterwards to ensure that no adverse effects occur.