A CT scan can be requested by your doctor to look for the cause of a very wide range of symptoms. CT scans provide very detailed images of your body which can be interpreted by a Consultant Radiologist and the report is sent back to your referring doctor.
We use CT to investigate problems of the brain, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. CT is also often used to assess bones and joints.
Because of the relatively high dose of radiation it is important that your referring doctor provides a good reason for a CT to be performed and asks a specific question that can be answered. All requests are checked by a Consultant Radiologist before it can be booked to check it is the correct investigation for the question in mind. For many CT examinations (such as CT of the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis) you will need to be given an injection of a dye material which shows up on the scan. This involves placing an intravenous tube into a vein in the arm. This contrast dye may upset your kidneys, so it is important that your referring doctor tells us if you have any kidney problems. Sometimes a blood test is required before you can be accepted for a CT scan.
It is important that you tell your referring doctor that you are, or could be, pregnant. Before having a CT scan all female patients of childbearing age are routinely asked if they are pregnant. If you are pregnant there may be alternative tests available to help reach a diagnosis, and your referring doctor should discuss the options with a Radiologist before you are referred. Generally CT is not performed on pregnant women unless absolutely necessary.