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You may feel nervous about your scan, but we don’t want you to worry. Our experienced consultants and radiographers are friendly and approachable, and can answer any questions you may have.

This video explains what to expect during X-ray, CT (CAT) and MRI scanning.

What is a CT Scan?

CT - Computerised Tomography. A scan using special X-rays to take images of the body. It uses a computer to create ‘slices’ (cross sections) of the body and internal organs.

Some terms you may hear:

  • Outpatient - being an outpatient simply means you are coming in to see us for an appointment. You don’t stay overnight.
  • Radiographer - a professional trained to take X-rays and scans.
  • Radiologist - a doctor specialising in interpreting X-rays.

During a CT scan a series of X-rays are taken of your inner body from slightly different angles and an advanced computer puts them all together, producing clear cross-sectional images. The detail in the images of a CT scan means that the radiologist can detect even tiny abnormalities. This accuracy helps in the early detection of disease and injury, allowing effective treatment planning. Like an X-ray, there are no known side effects of a CT scan and it is normally a pain free procedure. 

A CT scan may not be suitable for everyone. If you are, or might be, pregnant please contact us on the number on your appointment letter as we may not be able to scan you.

Preparing to visit us

We want to make sure that you are fully informed – so please do call us if you have any questions before your appointment. If certain medical terms aren’t clear, we explain them. If you’d like to bring a family member or friend, that’s no problem.

At your appointment you will meet your radiographer who will be an expert in CT scanning. The radiographer will be with you throughout the whole process, from explaining the scan and answering your questions beforehand, to performing the actual scan.

Your appointment can take up to 40 minutes, depending on the area of your body being scanned. For around half this time you will be lying down on the scanning bed, but the actual scan will take less than a minute.

No special preparation is needed, but we do want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your scan and for the procedure to go smoothly. So there are some things to bear in mind before you come to us.

You can eat and drink as normal and continue to take any prescribed medicines. And, because we need to get images that are clear as possible, please wear clothing that has no metallic parts, such as buttons, zips and hooks. If you are wearing an under-wire bra, you may be asked to remove it.

Some scanning beds have a weight limit for safe use, which is usually between 110 and 130Kg (about 20 stone). If you feel this may be a problem, please contact us and we can make arrangements that have your safety and comfort in mind.

On the day of your CT scan

When you arrive for your appointment we’ll check your name, date of birth and address. At this time you’ll be given the opportunity to ask any questions. Any metal objects, such as jewellery, keys, coins or metal dentures will be kept safely for you during the scan. If necessary, your radiographer may ask you to change into a gown for the scan. This will only be if an article of clothing could interfere with the scan.

Consent

At your appointment, we will ask you to sign a consent form to show that you agree to the procedure and fully understand what will happen. You are free to ask any questions you want, to ensure that you are comfortable with everything before you sign.


Find your nearest hospital that provides this test
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
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Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
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Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
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Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
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Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Manchester Diagnostic Suite  

Nelson Street, Manchester, M13 9NQ

0161 272 5890
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Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
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Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
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Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
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Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
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Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
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Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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