What is a CT scan?
CT stands for 'computed tomography', and the large, ring-shaped CT scanner uses X-rays to create detailed images of the inside of your body.
The ring rotates in small movements around your body, taking a series of X-ray scans as you lie on a bed that moves backwards and forwards through it. The separate scans are then compiled to build a detailed image of the body called a 'tomogram'. Tomograms are far more detailed than standard X-rays, and show internal organs, blood vessels and tumours.
What are CT scans used for?
A CT scan can be used to diagnose or monitor many different health conditions, including fractures, sinusitis, urology problems, tumours and bone disease. It is often used to provide views of the body before another procedure takes place, such as a biopsy or radiotherapy treatment. The examination is painless and usually takes between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on which part of your body is being scanned. An injection of an iodine-based X-ray dye known as contrast agent is often necessary to aid diagnosis.
Is it safe?
The amount of radiation you are exposed to is safe. However, CT scans are not recommended for pregnant women because of the risk to the unborn baby. Children are more sensitive to radiation than adults, and will only have a CT scan if it is justified by a serious condition that puts them at a higher risk by not having one.
If you are advised to have a CT scan to diagnose a condition or to check symptoms of a known medical condition, the benefits of having the scan will outweigh any potential risk.
The best quality imaging available
Our CT scanner can carry out a full body scan in just 10 seconds providing high definition imaging in 3D, enabling doctors to see small vessels as thin as a human hair, in any part of the body, and make a quicker diagnosis.
In addition to high-resolution cardiac imaging including CT cardiac angiography, CT provides large area, dynamic coverage scans for the brain and body, virtual colonoscopy, 3D bone and tissue reformatting.
For further details read our CT scan patient information guide.