What is computed tomography (CT)?
A CT (computed tomography) scan is a non-invasive test that uses ionising radiation to generate cross-sectional images of the body – like looking at slices of a bread loaf.
At Epworth Medical Imaging we use leading-edge CT technology that can scan soft tissue and bones in one rotation to reduce radiation exposure. Our scanners produce high-resolution four-dimensional reconstructions of bone, soft tissue, and organs such as the heart, capturing visual detail not seen using other imaging techniques.
A CT scanner has a large bore, or hole, and looks like a doughnut. Patients lie on a flat motorised table that moves through its centre. For most examinations, the patient’s head remains outside the machine.
How should I prepare for a CT scan?
For some CT scans there is no preparation required, however some examinations require fasting for four hours prior to the scan and for others, you may be asked to arrive early to ingest a fluid that outlines the stomach and bowel. Epworth Medical Imaging staff will notify you of any requirements when you schedule your appointment.
Please advise our staff if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medications. Certain drugs could alter the test results so you may need to stop taking them for a few days before your scan.
CT examinations are relatively fast; most scans take less than 15 minutes. Our staff will estimate the duration of your scan when you make your appointment.
On the day of your appointment
For some CT scans, you will be asked to change into a gown and to remove any clothing or belts that contain metal. A gown is not required for brain, sinus, hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, foot and knee examinations.
Your radiographer will explain the CT examination to you. You will be asked to lie on a table that will move through the CT scanner. The scanner is not enclosed and for most examinations your head will remain outside the machine. You should not experience any discomfort, but for some scans you will be instructed to hold your breath to help you remain still.
You may require an injection of contrast agent (dye) into the vein on the inside of your elbow or on the back of your hand. Contrast accentuates vessels and internal organs on images to improve image quality and is usually excreted by the body within an hour of injection.
As with any medication or injection, there is a small chance of an allergic reaction so please inform our staff if you have previously reacted to contrast solution. If you need contrast, you will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire.
Our staff will monitor you throughout the scan and are highly trained to provide assistance as required.
Some examinations may take considerable time to process and report, for instance CT coronary angiography. It is important to advise reception staff whether you will wait for your results or if alternative arrangements need to be made.
Our radiologist will produce a report that will be sent directly to your GP or specialist. Please contact your referring doctor to discuss your results.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for on-the-day payment. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, claims can be lodged electronically to ensure that your Medicare rebate is deposited directly into your bank account.
Pensioner Concession, Health Care, Commonwealth Seniors Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold cardholders will be bulk-billed for all Medicare-eligible outpatient items. Some surgical procedures and scans that are not covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule may incur an out-of-pocket cost. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please present your Medicare card and any concession cards to reception on arrival.