CT scans

Written by: 
Dr Kieran Walsh

Are you due to go for a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan and need to know more about it and what to expect? This page will help.

A computerised or computed tomography (CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images.) scan, sometimes called a CAT scan (computed axial tomography), is an extremely powerful X-rayA type of electromagnetic radiation used to produce images of the body. that takes high-resolution pictures of the body's internal organs.

CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scans are very accurate. They provide detailed images of organs such as the brain, the lungs and the abdominal organs. CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scans are much more accurate than traditional X-rays. Read more about X-rays.

The CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scanner takes pictures that look like cross-sectional slices of the body. The pictures are developed by a computer that is attached to the scanner.

You might need a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan for a variety of reasons. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may order one to find out what is going on. For example, if you have a severe and persistent headache, a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan may show an underlying cause such as a brain tumour.

If you are going for a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan, you may have some questions, including:

How is a CT scan performed?

A CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scanner has a round opening in the middle. You lie on a couch, which is then slowly moved into the opening so that the scanner can start to take X-rays.

The person operating the scanner (the radiographer) sits in a room next door during the scan and can communicate with you via an intercom.

A CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan can take 15-40 minutes, depending on the number of images that are due to be taken.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Patients can usually eat whatever they want and take their normal medications before the scan. If the scan is of the abdomenThe part of the body that contains the stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder and other organs., however, you might be told to fast beforehand because food in your stomach could interfere with the scan.

Before the scan, you may be asked to drink or have an injection of a dye into your hand or arm that makes it easier to see particular organs or other internal areas in the scan.

You can wear what you want, but it is best to be prepared to remove whatever parts of your clothing are necessary before the scan.

Are there any risks or other concerns?

  • Having a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan is painless.
  • Some people have a reaction to the dye that is sometimes used during the procedure.
  • Having a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan exposes you to radiation.
  • There have been concerns expressed that the dose of radiation you receive if you undergo several CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scans could increase your risk of cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., but this is a controversial claim and in any case the risk is likely to be very low.
  • Pregnant women should not have a CTA scan that generates a series of cross-sectional X-ray images. scan while they are in the first three months of the pregnancy.

What happens after the scan?

You can go home or go back to work immediately after the scan. There should be no after-effects following the scan.

The scans are created immediately. They are read by a radiologist, who sends a report to your doctor.

Your doctor should get the report within weeks - or much sooner if it is an emergency scan.