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Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - What it is

Computed Tomography (CT) scan is a special examination using a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce crosssectional images of the body, giving detailed information for diagnosis. We hope the following information will help you understand the procedure better and make your visit to the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging a pleasant one.

What to expect during the examination?
During the CT examination, you will be comfortably positioned on a special scanning couch. You will not feel anything, except couch movement between scans. The radiographer will instruct you to hold your breath for five to ten seconds while the scans are being taken

 In many cases, you will be given an injection of contrast medium (X-ray dye), usually in the arm. This contrast medium goes into your blood system and outlines your blood vessels, improving the visualisation of certain structures. The contrast may make you feel warm for a few seconds. It will be passed out in the urine in 15 to 30 minutes.

If you feel any discomfort or pain during the injection, please inform the doctor.

How high is the radiation dose?
The radiation dose you will receive is the smallest possible. As such, there are no demonstrable side effects from the radiation. If you have any concerns, please discuss it with the radiologist.

Will I need to be admitted?
The examination does not require hospital admission. It can be performed on an outpatient basis. If you are admitted to the hospital on the appointment day, please inform the ward staff to contact the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging about your scan.

Important points to note:

  1. The examination time may vary from 15 to 30 minutes. This does not include the preparation time that could take up to 90 minutes for a pelvic scan.
  2. When you are making the CT scan appointment, please inform us if you have any of the following conditions:
    1. allergy to any medication
    2. asthma
    3. diabetes
    4. kidney (renal) disease
    5. had kidney surgery
    6. hypertension
    7. gout
    8. protein in your urine (proteinuria)

    For conditions (iii to viii), please tell us your latest creatinine level ____________ umol/L and the test date ________________________.
    If your creatinine level is abnormal, a blood test may be repeated on the day of appointment. It will take one hour for the blood result to be known. If the repeated result is still abnormal, your appointment may be cancelled or rescheduled. This is a safety precaution to protect the kidneys.
  3. If you are or suspect that you are pregnant, please inform the doctor, radiographer or reception staff before the scan.
  4. Please do not carry any valuables, jewellery or excessive cash with you during your appointment.

Are there any special preparations for CT scan (without general anaesthesia or sedation)?
The preparation varies for different body parts.

For CT scan of the abdomen and/or pelvis you should fast at least four hours before the scan. You should arrive at the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging at least one hour before the appointment to drink a special fluid.

In addition, for CT scan of the pelvis, a small amount of contrast medium may also be administered into your rectum to study the large intestines. Do not empty your bladder one hour before the scan. If you are an inpatient and are on a urinary catheter, the nurse will be instructed to clamp it before the scan.

For CT scan of other regions, fasting for three to four hours is necessary, in preparation for intravenous contrast if needed.

Where necessary, a needle will be inserted into your vein for the administration of the X-ray dye or the medication for general anaesthesia or sedation.

What preparations are needed if I require sedation or general anaesthesia?
Fasting is compulsory for patient safety. For sedation, fasting of at least three hours is required. For general anaesthesia, fasting of at least six hours is required.

The last meal before the fast for either sedation or general anaesthesia should be light, comprising one cup of milk and two pieces of plain bread or biscuit. A heavy, oily meal can cause vomiting and severe complications.

Our nurse will call the patient, parent or guardian to advise on the fasting requirements.

Written consent for sedation or general anaesthesia is required. For patients below 21 years old, a parent or a legal guardian must give consent before we proceed. Hence, a parent or legal guardian must accompany the patient on the appointment day.

If your child is not well before the procedure, please call to inform us. We will decide whether patient is fi t for sedation.

*Do note that an Excuse Sheet will be given upon request. Medical Certifi cate (MC) will only be issued for this procedure that is performed under general anaesthesia.

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Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - Causes and Risk Factors

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - Diagnosis

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - Treatments

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - Preparing for surgery

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - Post-surgery care

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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