CT or CAT scan (Computerised (Axial) Tomography)
A CT scan is a test that uses an X-ray machine that spins around the patient to obtain detailed images. This means that many images of the body are produced as if the body had been sliced and turned onto its side for viewing. Modern CT scanners can produce multiple slices of the body in one single rotation and as such are now referred to as Multi-Slice or Multi-Detector CT scanners. The sophisticated computer within the CT scanner is then able to stack these slices together to create a 3-Dimensional image of the body part that has been studied for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
It is an excellent medical tool that is used to detect a whole range of disorders and can be used to scan most parts of the body and can evaluate soft tissue and bone. In particular, it may be used to diagnose subtle fractures, tumours, tiny kidney stones, strokes and blockages of arteries. CT can also be used to evaluate the lungs, the heart, coronary arteries, major body organs and bowel.
Booking your CT Scan
- Please remember to bring your medical aid card together with the signed request form from your referring doctor.
- Medical aid authorisation will be obtained by our department.
- A motivation letter may be required from your doctor, which can delay your authorisation.
- Co-payments may apply to certain medical aids, this will be discussed when you make your booking. The co-payment is due at the time of scan and is your percentage contribution of the rate that medical aids pay the radiologist ie medical aid payment =R6000 – your co-payment R2700 Medical aid pays towards your scan R4300.
- An appointment time will be given to you; however, if there are delays with the authorisation, we will let you know.
- Specialised CT scans and procedures may require a booking at one of our other venues.
- Inform Lake, Smit and Partners if you are having any other procedures done on that day.
Preparing for your CT Scan
- Please arrive 10 minutes before the appointment time to complete paperwork.
- Previous imaging, not done with Dr de Villiers & Partners, must be brought with you to the scan.
- You may be asked to complete a CT interview form. Information relating to allergies, medical history and current medication may be required.
- A blood test for kidney function may be required prior to the CT scan, especially in patients with diabetes and hypertension.
- CT Colonoscopy requires a special 2-day preparation.
- Cardiac scans have special requirements and your heart rate will be monitored.
- Facet joint or nerve block injections require a Specialist Radiologist.
- Most abdominal scans require the patient to drink either water or a contrast solution an hour before the CT scan.
- Please empty your bladder before the scan.
- A cotton gown will be provided for you to wear during the examination. You will then be placed onto a table that will position you within the scanner. You must lie still during the scan as movement will blur the images.
- A series of planning scans will be performed at the start which will localise which body part is to be imaged.
- The main part of the scan, which is when the images used for diagnosis are obtained, then follows and is usually over within a minute , sometimes within several seconds.
- Depending on your examination, you may be asked by an automated voice to hold your breath.
- In some cases, an injection of IV contrast is required to help with the diagnosis of various conditions.
- CT scans can take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1½ hours (including the preparation).
Additional & relevant information
Please inform your Radiographer before the scan if any of the following apply to you:
- You are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant;
- You have an iodine allergy, in which case a special preparation is to be done 24 hours before the scan will be required.
Information for Female Patients:
If you are pregnant, or it is possible that you may be pregnant, then a CT scan is usually not performed unless it is an absolute medical necessity to do so. It is possible that an ultrasound or MRI scan may provide similar information and therefore be used as a substitute. Please inform our clinic if this situation applies to you.
What to expect during your CT Scan
- You will be asked to lie on a movable scanning table.
- Some examinations may require an IV injection of an iodine contrast media; in this case a drip will be inserted into a vein, usually in the arm.
- You will be able to communicate with the radiographer throughout the scan.
Waiting for your results
This may take a few hours, even up to 24 hours for complex scans. Once it is completed, a report will be sent to your referring doctor.
Need to talk to us?
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Or call — 011 888 1700