Southern DHB Radiology - Southland
Public Service, Radiology
Computed Tomography (CT)
With CT you can differentiate many more things than with a normal X-ray. A CT image is created by using an X-ray beam, which is sent through the body from different angles, and by using a complicated mathematical process the computer of the CT is able to produce an image. This allows cross-sectional images of the body without cutting it open. The CT is used to view all body structures but especially soft tissue such as body organs (heart, lungs, liver etc.).
What to expect?
You will have all metal objects removed from your body. You will lie down on a narrow padded moveable table that will be slid into the scanner, through a circular opening.
You will feel nothing while the scan is in progress, but some people can feel slightly claustrophobic or closed in, whilst inside the scanner. You will be asked to remain still and hold your breath on command. There are staff present, but they will not necessarily remain in the room, but will speak with you via an intercom system and will be viewing the procedure constantly through a windowed control room, from where they will run the scanner.
Some procedures will require Contrast Medium. Contrast medium is a substance that makes the image of the CT or MRI clearer. Contrast medium can be given by mouth, rectally, or by injection into the bloodstream.
The scan time will vary depending on the type of examination required, but as a rule it will take around 30 minutes.