What is a CT Scan?
A CT scan is a computed tomography that allows doctors to look inside the body. It uses computers and rotating X-ray machines to create cross-sectional images of the body. CT scans provide more detailed images compared to standard X-rays as they can also show blood vessels, soft tissues, organs and bones in various parts of the body. They are used to look at the following:
- Joints (shoulders, knees, spine)
CT scans are ideal for diagnosing diseases and assessing injuries. They can help your doctor:
- Identify the location of tumours and masses (including cancer)
- Diagnose infections, muscle disorders and bone fractures
- Study blood vessels and other internal structures
- Monitor the effectiveness of treatments for certain conditions, including heart disease and cancers
- Assess the extent of internal injuries and internal bleeding
How to Prepare for a CT Scan
You may be asked to stop taking certain medications before your scan, and you will need to inform your doctor if you have diabetes or think you are pregnant. You may also be asked not to eat or drink anything for 2-4 hours before your procedure, particularly if a contrast dye is being used.
A contrast dye involves drinking a large glass of liquid that contain either barium or iodine. It will take approximately 60-90 minutes for the contrast dye to move through your body. If you are allergic to any of these substances, it is important that you tell your doctor as you may be prescribed an allergy medication or steroid that will counteract any potential side effects you may have.
You will be instructed to remove certain items that include:
- Hearing aids
- Jewellery, including body piercings
- Bras with metal underwire
It is advisable that you wear loose, comfortable clothing, as you will be lying down during the procedure, although you may be given a hospital gown to wear.
How is a CT Scan Performed?
A CT scan is a minimally invasive procedure and can be carried out in a short space of time. During the CT scan, you will be required to lie on your back in a large tunnel-like machine, shaped like a doughnut. A radiology technician will perform the scan that involves the table moving through the scanner, taking X-rays around your body from different angles. The machine can be quite loud and you will likely hear a whirring and buzzing noise. It is important that you remain as still as possible as movement can blur the images. At times, you may be asked to hold your breath to prevent your chest from moving up and down. If a child requires a CT scan, a sedative may be prescribed to stop the child from moving.
The length of the scan depends on the parts of your body that are being scanned, but in general, it is anything from a few minutes to one hour.
Risks and Complications
CT scans are relatively safe procedures, although there are some risks, particularly for children who are more sensitive to radiation compared to adults. Risks can include:
Slight increased risk of cancer
A CT scan exposes you to more radiation than a typical X-ray, but the risk of cancer caused by radiation is very low, particularly if you only have one scan. However, your risk may increase over time if you have multiple CT scans and X-rays.
Exposure to radiation during pregnancy does increase the risk of birth defects, so it is important to inform your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be. Your doctor will likely recommend an alternative method of imaging such as an MRI or ultrasound scan.
Most allergic reactions result from the contrast dye as it contains iodine and barium. If you experience any of the following, you should contact your doctor immediately:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive itching
- Skin rash
If you were given contrast dye and experience any of the below symptoms, you should call the emergency services immediately:
- Rapid heart rate
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the throat or other body parts
After the CT Scan
Once the images have been taken, they are forwarded to a Radiologist for examination. They will be sent to a computer and combined to create images of cross-sections of your body. They may also be combined to produce 3D images of a particular part of the body.
Your results should be available within 48 hours and will be sent to your doctor. If you require a follow-up appointment to review the results, your doctor will inform you to discuss your treatment options. If you are required to attend a follow-up appointment, it may be because one of the below problems has been found, although this list is not exhaustive:
- Cancer, such as colon or pancreatic
- Kidney problems, including infection and kidney stones
- Joint conditions such as fractures
- Liver problems
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Crohn’s disease
You will not require a follow-up if your results are considered normal and no tumours, fractures, blood clots or other abnormalities were found.
As One Ashford Hospital is based in Kent, we are perfectly located for private patients in Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury, Folkestone and all nearby areas.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your CT Scans treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Ashford Hospital
Why One Ashford Hospital
- Access to leading Consultants within 48 hours*
- 0% and low interest finance options**
- Competitive fixed-price packages
- Modern purpose-built hospital
- Fast access to diagnostics including CT, MRI, X-Ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, ensuite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little waiting time for surgery
- Calm, dignified experience
*Dependent on Consultant availability
**Terms and conditions apply
Contact us and find out moreIf you are based in and around Kent, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury or Folkestone and would like to visit the One Ashford Hospital please click here
Diagnostics & Imaging Pricing Guide at One Ashford Hospital
This is a list of guide prices for some of common Diagnostics & Imaging treatments and procedures.
|CT Scan from||£495|
|MRI Scan from||£390|
|X Ray from||£110|