A CT scan uses a special X-ray machine which produces an image of a cross-section or slice of the body. The scanner consists of a doughnut shaped structure, or gantry, through which you pass on a table. As you pass through, the X-ray machine takes pictures all around you at different angles and the computer collects the information to make cross sectional images. Similar to a slice of bread, the 2 dimensional (2D) images show a ‘slice’ of the anatomy. The computer then stacks these slices together for further evaluation.
Outpatient CT scans are by pre-booked appointment only. Please check your booking closely to ensure which campus you are scheduled at and at what time of day (am vs. pm). A booking notification will go to your requesting Doctor, this will include any necessary prep instructions.
What can I expect ?
- Notification will go to your requesting Doctor regarding any prep needed for your CT
- Any metal in the area degrades the quality of your CT. For this reason you may be asked to change into hospital clothing
- Your Doctor may have requested a scan where the Radiologist deemed it necessary to have oral contrast (a drink) before your scan. This is most common with abdomen and/or pelvis scans. While you are drinking you will be waiting an hour or more before starting the scanning process. The scanning process will then take about 20 minutes. The total time in the department is normally around 90 minutes
- Without the drink, the process usually takes about 20 minutes
- Our Radiologist reading the CT may also ask for you to have an injection for the scan. It is a special dye (contrast media) that is used to improve how we see blood vessels, organs and other structures. This will require a small intravenous (IV) to inject the contrast through for the scan. The Technologist preparing you for your procedure will explain this further to you
- The Technologists strive to start each scan on time, but emergency patients and other unforeseen events may cause a delay
Is it your child coming for a test?
The Child Life Program strives to meet the psychosocial and emotional needs of children and youth throughout their health care journeys. They help them adjust to and understand hospitalization, medical procedures, illness and injury. They are commonly involved with procedures such as CT scans. https://www.lhsc.on.ca/child-life