What is the CT scan?

Computed tomography, commonly known as a CT scan, uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the body. The patient must lie as still as possible as the table moves through the large, donut-shaped scanning device.

Before the test

Please be aware that correct preparation is very important for the test to be performed properly. Your doctor will talk with you about your history and do an exam. Talk to your doctor about:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Any allergy to CT contrast or Iodine.
  • If you are diabetic and/or taking the tablet Metformin.
  • If you are diabetic and/or taking the tablet Metformin.

On the day of your test

Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

  • If a contrast will be used you should fast for four hours immediately before your scan; however, continue taking your medicines as usual.
  • If you are instructed to drink a special solution (“oral contrast”) to prepare for your scan, you will receive the 1 liter solution and instructions from the technologist. This will be done over 30 minutes.
  • You might be asked to change into a hospital gown. You also might be asked to remove your watch or any jewelry, please do not bring valuables.
  • Allow one hour for your CT scan. Most scans take from 15 to 60 minutes.

During the test

  • The technologist will help you lie in the correct position on the examining table. The table will then automatically move into place for imaging. It is very important that you lie as still as possible during the entire procedure, as movement will blur the images. You might be asked to hold your breath briefly at intervals when the X-ray images are taken.
  • Depending on the type of scan you need, a contrast material might be injected intravenously (into your bloodstream). You may feel a light warm sensation in your body for several seconds and have a metallic taste in your mouth once you receive the dye. These symptoms are normal and should self-resolve after a few seconds.

After the test

  • Results are usually reported within 24 hours, and the full report is sent directly to your doctor. Please ensure you have a follow up appointment with your attending doctor to discuss the results.
  • If you received IV contrast dye you may receive special instructions regarding your medication. It is advised you increase your oral fluid intact for the remainder of the day, (6 to 8 glasses of water).
  • If you experience any issues after leaving the hospital please attend your nearest Emergency department.

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