CT Scan Information

CT, or CAT scans, are special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and a computer. CT scans are also referred to as computerized axial tomography. CT was developed independently by a British engineer named Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and Dr. Alan Cormack. It has become a mainstay for diagnosing medical diseases. For their work, Hounsfield and Cormack were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1979.

CT scanners have vastly improved patient comfort because a scan can be done quickly. Improvements have led to higher-resolution images, which assist the doctor in making a diagnosis. For example, the CT scan can help doctors to visualize small nodules or tumours, which they cannot see with a plain film X-ray. If one looks at a standard X-ray image or radiograph (such as a chest X-ray), it appears as if they are looking through the body. CT and MRI are similar to each other, but provide a much different view of the body than an X-ray does. CT and MRI produce cross-sectional images that appear to open the body up, allowing the doctor to look at it from the inside. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce images, while CT uses X-rays to produce images. Plain X-rays are an inexpensive, quick test and are accurate at diagnosing things such as pneumoniaarthritis, and fractures. CT and MRI better to evaluate soft tissues such as the brain, liver, and abdominal organs, as well as to visualize subtle abnormalities that may not be apparent on regular X-ray tests.

CT Scan Facts

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  • CT scan images allow the doctor to look at the inside of the body just as one would look at the inside of a loaf of bread by slicing it. This type of special X-ray, in a sense, takes "pictures" of slices of the body so doctors can look right at the area of interest. CT scans are frequently used to evaluate the brain, neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and sinuses.
  • CT is a commonly performed procedure. Scanners are found not only in hospital X-ray departments, but also in outpatient offices.
  • CT has revolutionized medicine because it allows doctors to see diseases that, in the past, could often only be found at surgery or at autopsy. CT is noninvasive, safe, and well-tolerated. It provides a highly detailed look at many different parts of the body.
  • People often have CT scans to further evaluate an abnormality seen on another test such as an X-ray or an ultrasound. They may also have a CT to check for specific symptoms such as pain or dizziness. People with cancer may have a CT to evaluate the spread of disease.
  • A Head or Brain CT is used to evaluate the various structures of the brain to look for a mass, stroke, area of bleeding, or blood vessel abnormality. It is also sometimes used to look at the skull.

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CT Scan Prices

CT ScanPrice fromExtras
CT Scan:128 Slice £495-£900 Contrast from £100-£200
CT Scan:640 Slice £560-£900 Contrast from £150-£200
CT Heart (Calcium Score) £495-£900 Contrast from £100-£200
CT Brain Scan £730-£900 Contrast from £150-£200
CT Virtual Colonoscopy £1280 Contrast from £150-£200
CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA) £900 Contrast from £100-£200

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CT Scan?

  • CT scan (Computerised Tomography Scan) is sometimes referred to as a CAT scan (Computerised Axial Tomography).
  • CT scan is a non-invasive method of diagnosing abnormalities in the structure of the body.
  • CT scan uses a combination of multiple X-ray images taken in series from different angles. These images are processed by a computer to create cross-sectional views of soft tissues, bones and blood vessels. Three Dimensional (3D) views of internal organs and body structure can be created using CT scans.
  • CTA (Computerised Tomographic Angiography) is an technique used to visualise blood flow in arteries.
  • CT images provide information in far greater detail than plain X-rays.

When is a CT Scan used?

  • To examine internal organs following injuries, accidents or trauma.
  • To study bone disorders and fractures.
  • To diagnose muscle disorders, tumours, infections and blood clots.
  • For guiding medical treatments during surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy.
  • For the detection and monitoring of liver masses, lung nodules, heart diseases and cancer.

How is CT Scan different from MRI Scan?

  • CT scans can sometimes provide more detail about the head, eyes, inner ear and sinuses, hearts, lungs, skeletal system, pelvis, hips, reproductive systems, bladder and gastrointestinal tract; while MRI scans can shows clearer differences between normal and abnormal tissues.
  • CT scan involves a little radiation, while MRI scans are radiation free.
  • CT scans are quick, comfortable and more suitable for claustrophobic patients, while MRI scans are noisier, a little more enclosed and take a longer time.
  • CT scanners allow you to move a little during the scan, while MRI scans require the patient to remain very still.

What are the different types of CT Scanners available?

  • CT scan machines vary from 32 slice to 640 slice CT. More slices can means less radiation exposure and better quality images

What types of CT Scans can be performed?

Abdomen, Adrenal Glands, Appendix, Arm, Back, Bile Ducts, Bladder, Blood Vessels, Bone, Bowel, Brain, Breast, Calcium Score, Cervical Spine, Cervix, Chest, Clavicle Joints, Coronary Angiogram, Coccyx, Cranial, CTA, Elbow, Facial Bones, Fallopian Tube, Fetus, Full Body, Gallbladder, Hand, Head, Heart, Hip, Internal Auditory Canal, Joint, Kidney, Knee, Leg, Liver, Lumbar Spine, Lymph Nodes, Mandibles, Neck Soft Tissue, Orbits, Ovaries, Pancreas, Pelvis, Penis, Prostate, Scrotum, Shoulder, Sinus, Skull, Spine, Spleen, Stone Search, Temporal Bones, Testicles, Thoracic Cavity, Thoracic Spine, Tumor, Urinary Tract, Uterus, Wrist

What is IV Contrast and Oral Contrast?

  • Sometimes a contrast injection (iodine based material) is used to enhance the images of the blood vessels and the soft tissue. This is normally used in cases of CT for Head, Neck Soft Tissues, Extremities, Spine, Chest, Renal System and Blood Vessel Scans.
  • In some cases your doctor may prescribe for an oral contrast such as Barium which is used to enhance images of the digestive tract. This is commonly used in CT scans of the Abdomen, Pelvis and other Abdominal Organs.

How long does it take to do a CT Scan?

Generally the scan take a few minutes to perform. The total time required for your appointment varies from 15 to 45 minutes including the preparation. Sometimes an additional test or scan is required before the actual CT Scan.

How soon are the images available?

The CT Scan images are available directly from the Imaging Centre on a CD ROM on the day of scanning or can be posted to you.

How soon is the Report available?

The images are studied by a medical practitioner (Consultant Radiologist) and the final report is produced and shared within 5-7 days.

What are the risks and restrictions in a CT Scan?

  • Although CT scans involve radiation, this is kept to the lowest dose compatible with obtaining high quality images with the help of advanced machines.
  • The scans are not painful, but if contrast material is used it can sometimes make you feel warm.
  • Patients are not given contrast if they have poor kidney function or renal impairment.
  • Patients who may be pregnant, need to check with their doctors before undergoing a CT Scan.
  • CT Scan machines can normally accommodate patients weighting up to 400 lbs.
  • Usually the CT scan does not make you feel claustrophobic, however patients should inform staff if they are claustrophobic and sedatives can be provided if necessary.