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Frequently Asked Questions

CT Scan

What is a CT scan?

A computer tomography (CT) scan is a relatively simple, safe and painless examination. The scan produces a series of images and can detect many conditions that do not show up on regular x-rays. Your test will help make an accurate diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment for you.

During the scan, thin beams of x-rays are focused on a specific part of your body. The x-ray tube moves rapidly around your body, enabling multiple images to be made from different angles to create a cross-sectional picture. The beam is picked up by detectors, which record the information and feed it into a computer. The computer then uses the information and makes an image on a screen. During some CT scans, a contrast agent is used to outline blood vessels or fill up organs of the body so they can be clearly seen.

Is a CT Scan dangerous?

The imaging does require the use of x-rays and there are some risks with using radiation. However, radiation doses from standard diagnostic exams are very low. The radiation dose for your test is closely monitored to ensure your safety. Please discuss the risks and benefits to having a CT scan with your doctor prior to coming for your appointment if you have any concerns.

What should I bring with me to my test?

Have someone who is can speak English clearly come with you to help translate any instructions. Please see Interpreter Services.

You should wear loose clothing without any metal buttons or zippers if possible. However, you may still need to change into a hospital gown for your test. You should bring your Care Card, and a piece of picture ID with your address and birth date on it. Leave all jewellery at home.

Do not bring small children as they will not be allowed into the room during the test, and there is no adult supervision available. Do not bring pets, as there is no supervision for them during your test. Please allow two hours for your exam.

What do I need to do before my test?

When your appointment is made you will be told if you need any special preparations. Please refer to CT preps and tests for further instructions regarding your scan.

For certain scans you may need to come to the hospital to pick up two bottles of Telebrix prior to your appointment date. You may need to fast from midnight the night before the test. Drink one bottle of Telebrix mixed in 500mL of juice before bedtime and the other bottle of Telebrix mixed in 500mL of juice in the morning. Do NOT eat or drink anything more until after your exam.

For certain CT scans it may be necessary for you to have an IV started by one of our nurses or technologists. We use this IV to inject x-ray contrast into your vein in order for the Radiologist to see your blood vessels and internal organs clearly.

Be sure to answer carefully any questions the nurses or technologist ask you about your general health. For example, tell them if you are pregnant, diabetic, and/or allergic to any drugs or food. Let them know if you have had any contrast in the past and if you had any side effects. Give them a complete list of medications you are currently taking.

What do I need to do after my test?

After your CT scan you are free to leave. If you received IV contrast for your particular test then you need to drink at least 8, 500 ml glasses of water or juice each day for the following two days and avoid alcohol and caffeine the day of your exam. This will prevent dehydration and allow your kidneys to filter the contrast out of your body. You may resume your normal diet as soon as you leave the radiology department.

When will my doctor get my report?

We send you test results to your doctor as soon as possible. If your doctor does not have your results within two weeks, please ask your doctor to contact us.

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