Computed Tomography (CT Services)
In late 2014, San Radiology was the first Hospital in New South Wales to install the latest generation of CT technology known as the Siemens FORCE (384-slice, Dual Source). The Siemens FORCE offers ULTRA-LOW dose imaging, with up to 50% lower radiation dose compared to previous generation CT machines. The Siemens FORCE is considered to be the lowest radiation dose capable CT system in the Australian market today.
The Siemens FORCE offers “no-breath-hold imaging” due to its extreme speed, as well as offering increased diagnostic sensitivity through the application of Dual Energy CT (DECT) as required. The superior image quality achieved by using the Siemens FORCE technology makes it clear market leader for many applications including Cardiac CT, enabling high resolution imaging of the heart with speed and precision.
In addition to the Siemens FORCE, San Radiology also has two other CT machines:
- 128-slice Siemens AS+ (also an Ultra-Low dose system with DECT)
- 64-slice GE Optima (dedicated to interventional procedures with real-time scanning capability)
Most patients find a CT scan to be a relatively simple examination. You will be asked to lie on a table that moves in and out of the “doughnut-shaped” opening in the CT scanner called the gantry. At San Radiology two of our machines have the largest available gantry on the market, which significantly decreases any likelihood of claustrophobia. If you are having a scan of your abdomen or chest (including heart) then you may be asked to hold your breath for the short duration of the scan. It is very important that you remain very still during your scan to prevent blurring of the images and to maximise image quality.
For information specific to Cardiac CT, also known as a CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA) please click here.
Some typical CT examinations include, but are not limited to:
- Brain / Skull
- Facial Bones or Sinuses
- Inner Ear Structures
- Soft Tissues of the Neck
- Spine (Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar)
- Abdomen/Pelvis (including scans of your colon known as CT Colonography)
- CT Coronary Angiography (heart)
- CT Angiography (assessment of blood vessels)
- Bones / Joints (extremities)
- Radiotherapy Planning (to assist guided planning for cancer treatments)
- Biopsies and Drainages (often using real time guidance)
- Spine or Joint Injections
Frequently Asked Questions
Is any preparation required for a CT scan?
Most patients who have a CT scan of their head, chest (including heart), abdomen and/or pelvis are asked to stop eating four (4) hours prior to their examination. However, you may continue to drink clear fluids during that time.
For some CT scans of the abdomen and/or pelvis you may also be asked to drink 2.5 cups of oral contrast (fluid) before your examination. This oral contrast will be either barium, or a mixture of low-sugar cordial and an iodine-containing liquid. Oral contrast is used to define your stomach and bowel and distinguish these structures from other neighbouring organs. If you are required to have oral contrast, you will be asked to arrive one (1) hour before your appointment time. When you arrive you will be provided with drinking instructions to prepare for your scan.
If you are known to be diabetic or allergic to iodine then please remember to inform us at the time of making your appointment as special preparation instructions may apply.
Clothing items such as zippers, buttons, earrings and hairpins can interfere with the scan quality. For this reason you may be asked to change into a hospital gown prior to your scan.
Do I need to have an injection?
For some CT examinations an intravenous (IV) (small injection usually into the vein in your arm) contrast injection is required to highlight the blood vessels.
IV contrast is a clear fluid that contains iodine. If you are known to be allergic to IV contrast or Iodine please let us know at the time of making your appointment and also when you arrive on the day of your scan. On the day of your scan you will also be asked to provide a brief medical history and complete a questionnaire, which will also ask if you have any known allergies. This process enables us to assess if there is any risk associated with administering you contrast. The decision to administer contrast is made at the time of your scan and depends on your medical history and the clinical question being asked by your referrer.
You should always continue to take regular medications as prescribed by your doctor.
How long does a CT examination take?
The CT scanners at San Radiology scan very quickly. Depending on the type of scan you are having, the time will vary from just a few minutes to around 30 minutes on the scanner. On average patients spend less than 10 minutes on the scanner.
If you are required to drink oral contrast for your scan then you can expect to be in our department for approximately 1.5 hours (including the time it takes to drink the oral contrast). This length of time is required to allow the oral contrast to pass through and coat the bowel.
Our dedicated CT team will make every effort to ensure that your scan is completed as quickly and as comfortably as possible.
How long will my results take?
Most CT scan results are available within 24 hours of your scan and will be faxed and/or posted direct to your referrer. However, if you are seeing your referrer within 24 hours of your scan then please inform our staff so that we can fast-track your report.
Many of San Radiology’s referrers are also able to view your images and your report using our secure web-based distribution system.
Please contact San Radiology if you have any questions or queries.