Computerised Tomography (CT)

The CT department at HEY has four CT scanners over our two sites (at CHH and HRI) which support all specialties provided by the Trust. These consist of:

  • 1 x Philips Brilliance 16 Power
  • 1 x Philips Brilliance 40
  • 1 x Toshiba Aquillion 64
  • 1 x Siemens 128

What is a CT Scan?

CT uses x-rays to take a series of very detailed pictures of sections of the body. We will take lots of pictures of you during the scan and look at these on a computer screen.

CT examinations are fast and simple. For example, in emergency cases, they can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly enough to help save lives.

What does the scanner look like?

The scanner is rather like a large polo mint. The hole is almost 3 feet wide and only about 10 inches deep so you are not at all confined. If you feel anxious about things, you are welcome to telephone the department and speak to a member of staff or arrange to come and have a look at the machine for yourself.

What happens during the CT scan?

When it is your appointment time you will be collected from the reception or waiting room and taken to the CT scanning area. You will be advised if you have to remove any clothes or if you require any preparation before entering the examination room — this is dependent on the type of examination you are having taken. If removing clothes is required, you will be shown to a private cubicle where you may take off your outer garments. For some examinations you will be asked to put on the hospital gown and dressing gown provided, but you may prefer to bring your own dressing gown. You should place your clothes and personal belongings either in a basket, which you will keep with you, or in a secure locker.

If you do require preparation prior to your examination, you will be taken to a preparation area and, dependent on the examination you are having taken, may be required to drink some contrast agent or have a cannula placed in your arm.

The procedure will be explained to you before the scan — if you have any doubts or questions please ask. A friend or relative can stay with you for this.

Once you have been informed of the procedure you will be positioned comfortably on the scanner bed. Depending on the body area we are scanning you may go in either head or feet first. Generally, you will lie on your back with your arms by your side (depending on what body part is being scanned). You will be asked to remain still during the scan.

When the scanner is working it makes loud tapping noises. You will be given some ear protection. This will be either soft earplugs or headphones. Some of the scanners can play you music.

The radiographer will be watching you from the control room at all times during your scan.

There is also a two-way speaker and you can talk to the radiographer if you want. You will be given a call buzzer so you can contact the radiographer at any time during your scan.

Depending on the scan we are doing the procedure can take between 10 and 30 minutes.

Sometimes you may need to be given an injection. This helps us see parts of your body that may be difficult to see without the injection. A small needle will be placed in your arm by the radiographer or radiologist (specialist x-ray doctor). It is sometimes necessary to give an injection of a “contrast agent” (a clear substance) used to enhance the contrast of structures or fluids within the body and so improve the images taken. The contrast agent will highlight different body tissues. In this way the tissue or area that is being examined can be more easily identified on the final picture. Prior to the injection the radiographer will ask you a number of questions regarding your health.

You will feel nothing from the scan itself.

What happens after the CT scan?

If you have had an injection, we may ask you to stay in the department for 10 minutes after your scan. The injection has been used for many years throughout the world without any serious complications. Very rarely local stinging may occur where the needle was placed. If you experience any problems please tell a member of staff before you leave the building.

If you have not had an injection you may leave as soon as the scan is finished.

The scans will be read by a radiologist (specialist doctor) who will produce a report and send a copy of the results to the specialist who sent you for your scan. This typically takes 10-14 working days.