Introduction

The Rutherford Diagnostics Centres house some of the most sophisticated and accurate diagnostic imaging technology available and our experienced team are passionate about the service they provide to patients and clinicians.

Patients and clinicians using Rutherford Diagnostics can expect a first-class, rapid diagnostic service with same-day appointment availability.

If your consultant/clinician/specialist has requested that you undergo a CT scan. This webpage is designed to give you some information about the scanner, to help you prepare for your scan appointment and to give you some idea of what to expect when you attend.

A radiographer is responsible for ensuring your safety, comfort and care during the CT scan and will be present to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Our diagnostic imaging services are accessible to self-pay patients, private patients under medical insurance (subject to authorisation) and NHS patients who are treated under our contract to Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

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What is CT imaging?

CT imaging is a method of obtaining highly-detailed pictures of the inside of your body. X-rays are used while you lie very still on a couch and detailed three-dimensional images of your body are acquired.

What does the equipment look like?

The scanner is a wide, short tunnel. Our scanner is much wider than the average CT scanner and most procedures can be performed with your head outside the scanner. If you are nervous about your CT scan please speak to your radiographer who will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

How do you prepare for your CT scan?

This will depend on what body part we are scanning. Do not be worried if another patient has been asked to undergo different preparation than you. This will vary depending on what protocol we shall use for your scan.

  • You may be asked to be starved or nil by mouth for 4 hours prior to the scan
  • You may be asked to drink a specified volume of water prior to your scan
  • If possible, try to wear clothing without metal zip fastenings or clips. If this is not possible, a hospital gown and changing facilities are provided
  • If you are diabetic and worried about any preparation you asked to do, please contact the centre prior to your scan to discuss any concerns
  • Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor

Any questions about the scan preparation please do not hesitate to ask the radiographer.

What happens before your CT scan?

When you arrive at the centre you should report to the reception desk where your personal details will be checked to ensure that our records are accurate and up to date. Your radiographer will be able to explain the scanning procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

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What to expect during the scan

A radiographer will escort you to the scanning suite and show you the scanner. You will be asked to lie on the scan table in the position required for your scan.

Please let your radiographers know if you are not comfortable, so they can help make the experience as comfortable for you as possible.

When the radiographers are happy with your position they will move the scanner table into the correct position to take the required images.

During your scan, you will hear some buzzing noises while the scanner is working and feel the table moving slightly. This is a normal part of the scan and nothing to worry about. The machine may ask you to hold your breath and then inform you to breathe again (The volume of this can be adjusted for those hard of hearing.). You will only have to hold your breath for a few seconds if this is required.

Pregnancy

If you think you may be pregnant it is very important that you tell the radiographer before your scan. This is because X-rays used by the CT scanning machine may harm your unborn baby. From the information you give us, we will then decide if there is cause for the CT examination to be postponed, or if it is safe to continue.

Will I need an injection?

For some types of scans, a small injection will be administered into a vein in your arm. This can sometimes give us more useful information. The injection is to administer a CT contrast agent. There are strict protocols on whether to give contrast or not. Rest assured that if you do not receive it, it does not mean your images are sub optimal and that you are not receiving a full service. All examinations are vetted by a consultant radiologist and they will specify if contrast is required for diagnosis.

At the time when the contrast is being administered during the scan, you may experience warmth all other your body, you may have a metallic taste in your mouth and/or a warm feeling in your bladder. These feelings are all normal and nothing to worry about, and will disappear quickly after the injection is completed. Some people will experience those sensations and some do not. The radiographers will discuss this in greater detail with you at the time.

Does it hurt?

Apart from the buzzing sound of the scanner you should not experience any pain or heat, or anything to cause any discomfort.

How long will it take?

You can expect to spend up to 30 minutes in the scanning suite. The scan itself takes between 20-30 minutes to complete.

After your scan has finished the radiographer will make sure you feel well enough to leave, and you will be free to go.

If you have had an injection the radiographer will leave the cannula in for 10 minutes and ask you to take a seat. This is a normal procedure. Once the 10 minutes wait is completed and you feel fine the cannula will then be removed and you are free to leave. If you have any further questions you can speak to your radiographer after the CT scan. The radiographer will inform you how you will get your results.

Can you make it?

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your CT scan, are unable to attend your appointment, or wish to amend the appointment time, then please contact us by telephone as soon as possible.

Our phone lines are open 8am – 6pm Monday – Friday.

Our contact telephone number is: 01633 973 250

Further information

If you would like to know more about CT scans, please download our patient guide

The core imaging services Rutherford Diagnostics provides includes:

Computerised Tomography (CT) Scan

CT

A computerised tomography (CT) scan can be used to diagnose and guide treatment, using x-rays to create images of the inside of the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan

MRI

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the body inside, this can be used to diagnose or guide treatment.

Digital X-ray

X-ray

Projection imaging, otherwise known as digital x-ray, creates two-dimensional images of the body at a particular moment in time.