We have Computed Tomography (CT) facilities at both Basingstoke and NorthHampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital. In most circumstances you will receive an appointment letter with details of when and where to go for your scan and also what you need to do to prepare for it.
A CT scan uses x-rays and a powerful computer to produce images of many different body parts. The scanner itself is a bright wide open tube which is less than a metre long, during the scan you will move in and out of this several times. Although scan times are usually only 5-10 minutes there are some procedures which take longer and often we will ask you to have a drink containing x-ray dye (contrast agent) before your scan so you should expect to spend over 1 hour in the department. Your appointment letter will give specific details.
Once your consultant has referred you for a scan you will be sent an appointment letter. It may be necessary for you to go for a blood test to look at your kidney function so that we can check it is safe for us to give you an injection of x-ray dye.
Preparation varies between scans, you will be given instructions. For some scans you may be asked not to eat or drink for 4 hours before the scan. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and take metformin you may be asked to stop taking this prior to the procedure.
When you arrive you may need to have a drink containing x-ray dye, you will need to sit and drink this over 45 minutes. Before the scan itself you may also need to have cannula (small tube) inserted into one of the veins in your arm to enable us to administer more of this dye into your bloodstream.
CT scans involve a small dose of x-rays, which does carry a very slight health risk but every scan is justified to the extent that this risk is far outweighed by the benefits of having the scan. All of our scanners employ the latest methods of reducing the radiation dose. Radiation is also a risk to the unborn child so it is very important that if you are, or think there is a chance that you are pregnant you must let us know before you have the scan.
There is also a small possibility of an adverse reaction to the x-ray dye. If we have decided that this is appropriate for your scan, it is important you tell us of any allergies or history of kidney problems when asked.
This will depend on who referred you for the scan. Your consultant may arrange a follow up appointment or write to you.