CT scan

What is CT scan?

A CT scan, computerized tomography or CAT scan, is a medical imaging procedure that combines X-rays and advanced computer technology to create detailed cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues from different angles. These images provide more detailed information compared to regular X-rays.

Who conducts CT scan?

CT scanning is performed by trained healthcare professionals called radiologic technologists or radiographers. These professionals have specialized knowledge and skills in operating CT scanners and conducting imaging procedures. They work under the supervision of radiologists, and medical doctors specializing in interpreting medical images and diagnosing conditions. The radiologist analyzes the CT scan images and provides a report. The technologists ensure safety, position the patient correctly for the scan, and operate the CT machine to capture high-quality images.

Why is a CT scan performed?

A CT scan is performed for several reasons, including:

  • Diagnose muscle and bone disorders: CT scans can help identify conditions like bone tumors and fractures by providing detailed images of the affected area.
  • Locate tumors, infections, and blood clots: CT scans help pinpoint the exact location of abnormalities such as tumors, infections, or blood clots within the body.
  • Guide medical procedures: CT scans aid in the precise guidance of surgical procedures, biopsies, and radiation therapy.
  • Detect and monitor diseases: CT scans are valuable in detecting and monitoring various diseases and conditions, including cancer, heart disease, lung nodules, and liver masses, allowing for timely diagnosis and effective management.
  • Evaluate treatment effectiveness: CT scans can assess the effectiveness of certain treatments, such as cancer treatments, by tracking changes in the size and appearance of tumors or affected areas.
  • Detect internal injuries and bleeding: In cases of trauma or accidents, CT scans can quickly detect internal injuries and internal bleeding, helping doctors in prompt and appropriate treatment decisions.

How is a CT scan performed?

Preparing for a CT scan

The Imaging Center will provide specific instructions on preparing for a CT scan. In some cases, the patient may be asked to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before the scan. All jewelry, metallic objects, and clothing with metal fasteners have to be removed to avoid interference with the scan. A serum creatine test (blood test) is advised for a CT scan with contrast.


A CT scan can be done at the Imaging Center in a hospital or diagnostic laboratory. It is a painless procedure that typically takes about 30 minutes. During the scan, the patient has to change into a gown and remove metal objects.

For certain CT scans, a contrast material may help highlight specific areas of the body. This can be given to the patient as a drink, an injection into the vein, or as an enema. The contrast material may have a slight taste or cause a warm sensation during injection.

During the scan, the patient will lie on a table that moves slowly through a large, doughnut-shaped machine called a CT scanner. The machine will rotate, capturing images of the body. The patient may also be asked to hold breath for a short period of time, usually fewer than 15 to 20 seconds. A technologist monitors from a separate room, he can see and hear the patient. During the CT scan, the patient can talk to the technologist using an intercom system. The technologist may ask to hold breath at specific moments to prevent the images from becoming blurry. This helps ensure the clarity and quality of the scan. The table moves back out of the scanner when the examination is over.

After the scan, the patient can resume normal activities. If contrast material was used, the patient may receive special instructions and be advised to drink plenty of fluids to help flush it out of the system. The CT images will be interpreted by a radiologist, who will provide a report to the doctor, who ordered the test.

While CT scans are generally considered safe, it is crucial for patients to inform their doctor if they are pregnant. This is because minimizing radiation exposure during pregnancy is essential to safeguard the developing fetus. Additionally, providing a comprehensive medical history that includes recent illnesses, existing medical conditions, current medications, and any allergies is vital when discussing a patient’s health before undergoing any medical procedure or treatment.


  1. RadiologyInfo: CT – Computed Tomography. Retrieved from: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodyct
  2. Mayo Clinic: CT Scan. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ct-scan/about/pac-20393675
  3. American College of Radiology: Understanding CT Scans. Retrieved from: https://www.acr.org/Patient-Care/CT
  4. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering: CT Scans. Retrieved from: https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/computed-tomography-ct-scans

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