Queensland Diagnostic Imaging

CT Scan

What is a CT scan?

A CT (computerised tomography) scan is a form of medical imaging that uses X-rays and computer technology to create detailed, 3D pictures of inside the body. The scan combines cross-sectional X-ray projections to show bone, blood vessels and soft tissue in the one image.

What is a CT scan used to diagnose?

A CT scan can be used to quickly and accurately detect a variety of diseases and conditions. The highly detailed images allow doctors to inspect inside the body without having to operate or perform invasive procedures. Some of the most common uses of CT imaging include examining patients with severe injuries and finding the cause of sudden onset symptoms.

How long does it take?

A CT scan takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

How should I prepare?

Some CT scans require the use of contrast material (a type of dye) to improve the image quality. Depending on the reason for your scan, this may be given as a liquid to swallow, an injection or an enema. 

You may also be asked to fast for a period of time before your scan. When you book your appointment, we’ll discuss any preparation needed for your particular procedure. 

You should let us know when you make the appointment: 

  • if you’ve had a previous allergic reaction to a CT scan
  • if you have a pacemaker, brain aneurysm clips, heart clips, ear implants, cochlear implants or any other implanted devices or prostheses
  • if you have any metal foreign bodies in your body, including shrapnel
  • if you have asthma, poor renal function, a thyroid condition or diabetes
  • if you’re breastfeeding, pregnant or may possibly be pregnant
  • if you suffer from claustrophobia.

Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment so that any paperwork can be completed.

What can I expect during the CT scan?

Before the scan begins, you’ll be asked to remove items like phones, jewellery, coins, keys, belts and credit cards. You may be asked to wear a patient gown for the test. 

The CT scanner is a large, doughnut shape, with a table that slides through the centre opening. The radiographer will position you correctly on the table and you’ll be asked to stay as still as possible for the entire examination. You may be asked to hold your breath at times to keep your body from moving.

The technician will then operate the CT scanner from the adjacent room. You’ll be able to hear and talk with the technician during the examination, but you must not move or change position during the scan. 

As the table moves you through the circular hole, the scanner is taking the X-ray images. You may hear clicks and buzzes while this happens. These noises can sometimes sound loud but are completely normal.At the end of your scan, you may be asked to wait for 15- 30 minutes if you’ve had intravenous contrast.

What will it cost?

If you have a current Medicare card and referral form from your health practitioner, you may be able to claim a Medicare rebate. If there’s an out-of-pocket expense, we’ll let you know when you book your appointment. 

When will I get the results?

We will prepare a report for your doctor or health practitioner and send it electronically within 24 to 48 hours. You should make an appointment with your referring doctor to receive and talk about your test results.

What are the potential side effects of a CT scan?

A CT scan is a very low-risk procedure. Like other X-ray imaging, a CT scan exposes you briefly to a small, targeted amount of radiation that is unlikely to cause any long-term harm. Pregnant women should discuss alternative methods to imaging with their doctor as the risk to a foetus is unknown.

Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the contrast material used for a CT scan. Most reactions are mild and result in hives or itchiness. It’s important to let the radiologist or technicians know if you have any known allergies, asthma or kidney problems prior to having the contrast dye injected.

Appointment Preparation
  • Follow preparations advised at the time of booking appointment.
  • Quoted fees payable at the completion of your appointment.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment.

For more details on what to bring, payment & results click below:

Where can I have a CT scan?

You can have a CT Scan at any QDI clinic