A-Z of services

CT Scan

C.T. stands for Computerised Tomography and is a special type of x-ray machine that can look at the various parts of your body including the brain, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis.

The information from the x-rays is recorded in a series of slice pictures. These slice pictures give detailed information of the inside of your body.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has two CT scanners, both located in the radiology department.

How do I prepare for my scan?

  • Eat and drink as normal, unless specifically told otherwise by the CT Appointments staff.
  • Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • If possible try to wear clothing without metal zip fastenings or clips/buttons. If this is not possible a hospital gown and changing facilities are provided.
  • If possible, try to leave valuables at home.

I am a diabetic, does this change anything?

Yes. The preparation details for the scan may change. Please ring the hospital and speak to a member of the CT Appointments team who will be able to advise you further.

I take Metformin (Glucophage/Avandamet) Tablets. Does this change anything?

Yes. Metformin (also known as Glucophage or Avandamet) is most commonly taken by diabetic patients to control blood sugar, but is occasionally taken for other medical conditions.
If you are taking Metformin (Glucophage/Avandamet), the preparation for your procedure may change. Please ring the hospital and speak to a member of the CT appointments team who will be able to advise you further.

What happens before my scan?

When you arrive in the Radiology department you should report to the main reception desk. A member of the reception staff will check your personal details. As well as confirming your identity this will ensure that our records are accurate and up to date. You will then be directed to take a seat in the main waiting area. If you are having a CT scan of your chest, abdomen or pelvis you may be asked to drink some fluid before the start of the scan. This will be either water or a very dilute x-ray dye mixed with sugar free orange cordial. This fluid will help to outline your stomach and small bowel. This helps us when we are looking at your scan pictures. This preparation may take up to one hour. When it is time for your scan a radiographer or a radiology department assistant will escort you to the CT waiting room. Depending on which area of your body is to be scanned, you may be asked to undress, in which case a hospital gown will be provided.

Who does the scan?

The person who carries out the scan is called a radiographer. This is the person who will explain the procedure to you and will position you correctly on the scan table. It is vitally important that you lie still for the duration of your scan.

What if I am pregnant?

CT scanning of pregnant women should be avoided whenever possible.  Since X-Rays can harm unborn babies it is vitally important that you tell the radiographer, or radiology department assistant, if you are or could be pregnant. You must do this before the CT scan. To avoid being accidentally exposed to x-rays, all females between the ages of 11 and 56 years, who are having a CT scan of the abdomen and/or pelvis, will be asked the date of their last menstrual period (LMP). From this information, the radiographer will decide if there is cause for the CT examination to be postponed or if it is safe to continue.

Is a CT Scan dangerous?

Like all X-Ray machines, a CT scanner produces potentially harmful x-rays. Modern CT scanners, like the ones at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, are designed to keep the radiation dose to the patient as low as possible. If your doctor has asked for a scan, then he or she will have decided that the benefit of having the scan, and the information that it gives, is greater than the risk of the small dose of radiation.

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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