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Computerised Tomography (CT)

A CT scan is a painless procedure that uses specialised X-ray equipment to create pictures (or tomograms) showing cross-sections of the body. A CT scan can clearly show different types of tissue in the lungs, soft tissues, and blood vessels and is often used to examine the chest and abdomen (tummy). The scans are much more detailed than X-rays and produce more accurate images which allow doctors to see whether, for example, you may have fatty liver disease.

The CT scanner itself is a large circular machine shaped like a tunnel into which you will be moved slowly backwards and forwards while it takes pictures (although the machine will not actually touch you). The length of the scan will depend on how many pictures are taken, but will not usually last more than around 20 minutes.

You may be asked not to eat for a period of time before the scan and you may be also be asked to drink a dye which will show up your internal organs, or this may be given via an injection. You should wear comfortable, loose clothing and remove anything metal such as jewellery, hearing aids, etc.

It is important to let the doctor know if you think you could be pregnant or if you suffer from claustrophobia.