Enquiries: 01305 251150

CT Scanning (Computerised Tomography)

Updated 19 February 2021

The CT service has a key role in diagnostics and uses state-of-the-art technology to produce detailed images. The Diagnostic Imaging Department at DCH has two CT scanners.

The first is a 128-slice GE scanner which was installed in 2015. The second is a brand new Canon Aquilion PRIME GENESIS and was installed in May 2020. It is the latest technology available and is the first of its kind across the whole of the south.

The CT scanner is an open ring-like structure, which resembles a giant doughnut rather than a tunnel as everybody expects.

We perform a wide variety of diagnostic and interventional examinations including angiograms to look at arterial blood flow, CT Urograms to study the renal system, CT Colonography to study the large bowel and rapid access brain imaging to look for stroke. CT is also the best modality for imaging major trauma patients. 

CT scans expose patients to radiation. Both of our scanners have up to date dose reduction features, but if you have any concerns about the radiation, please consult the doctor that referred you for the scan. Women should inform their doctors of any possibility of being pregnant before a scan is carried out.

Further information on radiation safety is available here.

CT scans (previously known as CAT scans) produce detailed 3-Dimensional images of many structures inside the body, including the internal organs, blood vessels and bones.

They can be used to:

  • diagnose conditions – including damage to bones, injuries to internal organs, problems with blood flow, kidney stonesstroke, and cancer
  • guide further tests or treatments – for example, CT scans can help determine the location, size and shape of a tumour before having radiotherapy, or allow a doctor to take a needle biopsy (where a small tissue sample is removed using a needle) or drainage of an abscess
  • monitor conditions – including checking the size of tumours during and after cancer treatment or assessing lung nodules

For further information please visit our patient information leaflets section here.

Outpatient appointments

We offer outpatient appointments Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm. 

Please call 01305 255397 for enquiries and to change appointments.

CT examinations are routinely performed with the use of an intravenous dye or contrast media usually injected into a vein in your arm. This is to highlight the organs on the images (more information on contrast media below). 

You will be asked if you have any allergies when you attend your appointment.

Metal objects including jewellery, glasses, dentures, hairpins and clothing may affect the CT images and should be removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.

Full instructions will be provided with your appointment letter but if you have any queries regarding the preparation for your scan, please call the number on your appointment letter. The radiographer performing the scan will be happy to answer any questions you have on the day.

Scan results

We will not be able to provide immediate results to patients as the images will have to be reviewed by a radiologist prior to writing a formal report which is then sent electronically to the doctor who requested the investigation unless you have been given any other specific instructions.

Our CT imaging services

  • Cardiac Imaging
  • Stroke Imaging
  • Colonography (imaging of the bowel)
  • Interventional scanning, including CT guided biopsies and CT guided drainage
  • Orthopaedic Imaging
  • Maxillo-facial and Dental Imaging

Contrast media

Some patients need an injection of X-ray dye (we call it 'contrast') into a vein in the arm. This dye highlights the blood vessels and body organs more clearly on the X-ray images. Sometimes the cannula or 'tube' through which the contrast is injected is put into a vein in your arm in the preparation area before you go into the room.

If you need to have an injection we will ask you about any medical history of diabetes, asthma or kidney problems.

We will also tell you what to expect during the injection of contrast (generally a metallic taste in the mouth and a warm sensation throughout the body, which lasts for about 30 seconds). Please tell us if you experience any discomfort in your arm during the test.

The contrast injection contains iodine, which can cause an allergic reaction in a few people. You should tell the radiographer if you have had an allergic reaction to iodine or contrast dye in the past or if you have any other allergies.

Very rarely the dye may cause some kidney damage in people that already have kidney problems and so we may need to check your renal function before the scan and we may advise you to slightly increase your fluid intake for the rest of the day if you have the contrast.

Rarely for those who have an injection, the contrast can leak outside the vein and cause temporary swelling and discomfort in the arm. This is unlikely to happen, but if it does we will give you further instructions and advice.

You may remove the dressing from your arm after one hour or so.

If you have any queries we will be happy to answer any questions on the day of the appointment or you can telephone us on the number given on your appointment letter.

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