CT Scan

Download preparation sheet

What is it:

An x-ray examination of a part of your body with computer-generated, cross-sectional images of your insides. It may require intravenous injection of contrast medium into a vein, usually at your elbow or back of the hand.

What you must tell us beforehand:

If you have had an adverse reaction to a previous contrast injection or other drugs or if you have any renal impairment. We will ask you to complete a questionnaire before the examination and sign a consent to the contrast injection if it is required for your examination.


Spine, Bones and Joints:

No preparation required.

Head and Chest:

Fast 4 hours.

Abdomen and Pelvis:

Fast 4 hours. One hour before your examination time drink 1 litre of water over 15 minutes.

CT angiography and CT coronary angiography:

Fast 4 hours.

CT enteroclysis:

Fast 12 hours, but drink water as required for thirst. After you arrive you will be given a mannitol drink which will fill your stomach and small bowel. The scan is done when this has reached the large bowel, usually 30-60 minutes after drinking.

CT colonography (sometimes called CT colography):

Three-day preparation of dietary restriction and laxatives to completely clean out your colon. For a good quality examination it is essential that your colon be completely clean. You will need to collect the preparation instructions from our practice beforehand.

What happens:

After the preparation for your particular examination, and your consent if a contrast injection is to be given, you change into a gown (except for head scans), then lie on a bed which slides through the opening in the scanner. The bed will go through the scanner once for the planning scan, then once for each scan. Some scans such as liver CT may require multiple scans over a few minutes as the contrast flows through.

CT coronary angiography may require intravenous beta-blockers just beforehand to slow the heart rate to less than 60.

CT colonography requires the colon to be inflated with air or carbon dioxide through a tube into the rectum, then scans are taken on your back and then on your stomach. For CT colonography and CT enteroclysis you may be given intravenous Buscopan to paralyse the bowel for a short while.

How long does it take:

After the preparation, the scan itself takes about 15 minutes.

Special precautions:

You may not be able to have the contrast injection if you have had a reaction to a previous injection, or have significant renal failure.

After Your Examination:

Have a high fluid intake for 24 hours to flush out the contrast.


Allergic reactions to contrast material can occur but significant reactions are rare, and generally respond to adrenalin. Our staff members are equipped and trained to treat contrast reactions.

Your images and report:

After your examination, you will be given a copy of the most pertinent images from your study. A report will be given to you with the images, or sent directly back to your referring doctor by fax or email. We will store digital copies of all studies on our secure database for comparison with any future examinations.

Please bring any previous x-rays with you for comparison.

It is important that you return to your doctor with your examination results. Whether they are normal or abnormal, your doctor needs to know promptly so that a management plan can be formulated.

Special instructions for diabetics:

If your examination requires fasting, then book an early morning appointment and have your breakfast and diabetic medication after the examination.

If your examination will require an intravenous injection of contrast medium, we need to know your renal function. Please bring along the results of your most recent blood test creatinine level.

If you are taking metformin, and receive an intravenous injection of contrast medium, you will be given special instructions to follow afterwards.



Low radiation & reduced scanning time = greater patient comfort + improved image quality.

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