If your doctor decides to send you for a CT Scan, you will be been given an
appointment at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for this. The CT scanning department is based in the ground floor of
the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) at the Western General Hospital. The closest entrance to this department is accessed via Telford Road. You will find maps and information about how to get to the Western General Hospital on our Directions and Travel page.
CT (Computed Tomography) is a method of obtaining high quality images of the human body using x-rays, which are then processed by a powerful computer. The CT scanner is used to take cross-sectional pictures of the body and can show both bone and soft tissues, assisting the doctors to make a diagnosis.
Your CT appointment will be sent to you and will include the date and time of your appointment and how long you will be expected to be in the department.
When you arrive in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences please report to the DCN X-ray reception with your appointment letter.
Once you have given your details to the receptionist you will be shown to the
waiting room. You are welcome to bring one other person with you to your
appointment, but space in the waiting room is limited. The person accompanying
you will have to remain in the waiting room while you are having your scan to
avoid unnecessary exposure to x-rays.
Sometimes it is necessary to give you a drink of x-ray contrast up to an hour
before your scan (this highlights the bowl). This will be built into your
appointment time and you will be asked to drink this in the waiting room.
You may be asked to change into a gown as zips/clips in your clothing may
affect the images. Alternatively, you may prefer to wear clothing with no
zips/clips or metal and, therefore, avoid the need to change into a gown.
It may be necessary to inject x-ray contrast into a vein in your arm (this
highlights your blood vessels). If so, you will be taken to the preparation area
where a radiographer will insert a venflon (small tube) into your arm.
You will then be taken into the scanning room where the radiographer will
position you on the scanner table and, if applicable, connect a pump to your
venflon. The radiographer will explain the scanning procedure to you and answer
any questions you may have regarding the scan. The table slides into the
scanner, which is open at both ends. The table will move periodically throughout
the scan. It is very important that you keep still and relax during the scan.
You will not feel anything but you will hear the noise of the scanner as it
moves around you (it sounds like a washing machine!).
Staff cannot stay in the room whilst the scan is in progress, but they can
speak to you, hear you and keep a careful watch on you throughout the scan. The
radiographer can talk to you through an intercom system. The CT scan takes
between 5 and 10 minutes to take all the pictures required.
Once your scan is complete and the pictures have been checked to ensure we
have all the information we need, you will be able to go home. If you have had
an injection of contrast you will be asked to remain in the department for 15
minutes while your body absorbs it. You should experience no discomfort and can
return to your normal daily routine.
The radiologist - a doctor who specialises in CT scanning - will examine your
scan. The result will be sent to your doctor or the consultant who asked for the
CT scan. They will send you a follow up appointment/letter to discuss your CT
results with them; please do not contact the CT scanning department for