The computed tomography (CT) scan
is a medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays and digital computer technology to create cross-section images of the body. It can make an image of every type of body structure at once, including bone, blood vessels and soft tissue. The CT scan may also be referred to by its older name of computed axial tomography or CAT scan.
Computed Tomography (CT) enables very detailed images of your body to be taken in slices. The CT scanner is able to take a volume of information through any body part. This volume can be digitally reconstructed into slices at almost any angle to assist the Radiologist in making a diagnostic evaluation. The volume can also be reconstructed into 3D images.
A CT scanner (Gantry) looks like a large doughnut and has a flat table that passes through the middle. Patients lie on the table and move through the opening in the gantry. Modern CT scanners have a 1m deep gantry and the opening is very wide. It’s unusual for patients to feel claustrophobic during a CT.
Central Queensland Radiology has dose reduction software on all its CT scanners to ensure the radiation exposure is kept to a minimum.
What should patients expect when arriving for an appointment?
Patients will be asked to fill in a Contrast questionnaire upon arrival. Patients may need to change into a gown to avoid clothes causing artefacts on the CT images. Patients will be asked to lie on the table and the radiographer will position them for their scan. The radiographer will then move into the next room at the control console but they can talk and listen to you via a microphone and they can see the whole procedure through a window.
Patients who need an injection of a special dye (called contrast),will usually have it administered into a vein on the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand. The contrast helps the Radiologist to visualise vessels and internal organs better in certain cases. As with any medication or injection, there is a small chance of an allergic reaction to the contrast but the radiographer performing the examination will go through this with patients before the scan. Please tell the staff if you have had any form of reaction to the contrast before.
How long does it take?
The actual scan usually takes only a matter of seconds for which patients may be asked to hold their breath. However, the examination can take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete – this includes the radiographer explaining what’s going to happen, positioning patients on the table, and setting up for the contrast injection.
CT Scan is available in our Rockhampton, Gladstone, Rockhampton Hospital, Gladstone Hospital, Emerald hospital and Capricorn Coast Hospital practices.