CT scan referral
At London Doctors Clinic, we can refer you to get a private CT scan.
What is a CT scan?
A CT scan (computerised tomography) is also known as a CAT scan. The CT scanner is a type of X-ray machine that uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the insides of the human body.
What does a CT scan identify?
A CT scan looks at your internal organs, bone, blood flow and other tissue.
It provides more detailed images than a standard X-ray and is often used to help doctors identify the cause of a problem, guide treatment plans and monitor progress of certain conditions.
Are CT scans safe?
Overall, the amount of radiation exposure during a CT scan is small and is unlikely to cause any harm. CT scans do involve much more radiation than a normal X-ray as they provide images with a higher level of detail. The amount of radiation you are exposed to depends on how much of you body is being scanned.
There is an increased risk factor for pregnant women as radiation may be exposed to the foetus, which can be harmful. However, it is rare that CT scans are performed in pregnant women unless necessary.
CT scans are generally safe, but it is important for you to let us know if you suffer from any allergies, asthma, diabetes or kidney problems in your consultation before your scan, so that we can pass your medical history onto the radiographer at InHealth.
What happens during a CT Scan?
A CT scan is performed by a radiographer and to prepare for the scan you may be told not to eat or drink before the procedure – this depends on what part of the body is being scanned. You may also be asked to remove any jewellery and metal objects prior to your scan.
Some scans require contrast (special dye used to produce certain images). You may be given this dye either by an injection into your veins, swallowed as a drink or as an enema (into your back passage). The dye helps improve the quality of images. There is very small chance that you might have an allergic reaction to contrast. If you feel any discomfort the radiographer will be able to hear you so you can alert them.
The scanner looks like a large ring or doughnut. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on a long table. The table will slowly move through the ring whilst the scanner rotates round capturing images. You will hear a ‘whirring’ noise which is just the machine working and your radiographer will be communicating with you via a speaker throughout your scan. It’s important you lie still and at times you may be asked to hold your breath as this helps create more accurate images.
The procedure can take 10 to 30 minutes depending on what parts of your body are being scanned. It is non-invasive and is a painless and simple procedure. Let us or the radiographer know beforehand if you are feeling nervous or claustrophobic about the scan and we’ll be able help put you at ease.
Your results will be evaluated and interpreted by a radiologist (a doctor trained to interpret these images) and the result will be sent or discussed with you within 2 working days from InHealth.
Do I need a CT scan?
Whether or not you need a CT scan will heavily depend on your assessment. CT scans are recommended when a doctors feels the images from the scan are needed to aid a diagnosis, treatment or follow up.
If you feel you need a CT scan, book a 15-minute appointment with us and we can take you through your options and find the best solution for you.
If you need more information on CT scans, take a look at these articles:
Written by: Dr Tosin Sotubo, General Practitioner at London Doctors Clinic
Published: February 2019
Review date: February 2022