Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Having a CT Scan
Your child has been scheduled for a CT Scan. Please arrive 20 minutes before your scheduled exam. This will allow time for you to register your child for the exam.
- Your child’s insurance card
- A list of any medicines (prescription and over the counter) that your child is currently taking
- Your child’s immunization record
- Your child’s Express ID Card, if you have one
What is a CT scan?
A CT Scan is a special kind of X-ray that will take pictures of a cross section of a part of the body. Depending upon what body part is to be X-rayed, a colorless liquid (X-ray dye) may need to be injected into your child’s body to help these body parts show up on the X-ray pictures. So, it may be necessary to start an IV (a small plastic tube inserted into your child’s vein with a needle). Your child may be asked to drink a special X-ray liquid and have X-ray dye injected through the IV.
Getting Ready for the Test
You child will have to follow a special patient prep listed under CT Patient Prep. It is very important that the instructions are followed closely.
When you and your child arrive at the Radiology Department, one of the radiographers (the person who will be taking your X-ray) will explain how the exam will be done.
Some questions will be asked about allergies (if any). This is important before any medicines or X-ray dyes are given to your child. Your child will then be taken into a room where there will be a large X-ray camera called a scanner over a special table. Next, your child may be asked to change into a gown. This is to keep buttons and zippers from showing up on your child’s X-ray picture.
CT Patient Prep
Your child’s prep will be given to you when the exam is scheduled. For most exams, a patient is kept NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 3-4 hours.
SPECIAL NOTE: If your child is taking oral medicines for diabetes, they will need a special prep. Please call the Radiology Department for instructions.
During the Test
If X-ray dye needs to be injected into your child’s body, an IV will be started. It is very important that your child hold very still while the IV is started. Your support as a parent is important.
The radiographer will help your child lie on the table and will ask your child to be very still. The radiographer will then go to another part of the room to take your child’s picture. If an X-ray dye is to be given, it will be injected into your child’s IV and more pictures will be taken.
Sometimes, the dye will leave a metallic taste in the mouth or a feeling of warmth throughout your child’s body. After the exam is complete, the nurse will remove your child’s IV. The exam will take 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
After the Test
There’s a short wait while the X-rays are reviewed. When everything is finished, your child will be released. The radiologist will then tell your child’s doctor the results of the test.
Commonly Asked Questions About CT Scans
How long will the exam take?
The exam will generally take 30 minutes.
When will I know the results of the exam?
The radiologist will let your doctor know the results of your child’s exam. Your doctor will then discuss the results of the exam with you.
Could my child have a reaction from the dye used in the exam?
Contrast reactions in children are rare. However, any child could experience one. Children at higher risk are those with:
- Sensitivity to medicines or an allergen (anything that can cause an allergic reaction)
- Heart failure, and those less than 12 months of age
Possible reactions are feeling warm, nausea, vomiting, hives, congestion, trouble breathing, apnea (stop breathing), chest pain, and as with many given medicines there is a possibility of a severe reaction, which could result in death.
If you have any questions about the test, please ask your radiographer or doctor.