Saturday 18 September 2021
Salisbury Foundation Trust

Computed Tomography (CT)

Our CT Scanners can be found on Level 3 in the Main Hospital corridor. When you attend for your scan please book in using the Kiosk on the wall or speak to our friendly receptionist.

CT stands for Computed Tomography and uses complex computer algorithms with a rotating X-ray machine to produce cross-sectional pictures of the body. These pictures are considered much more detailed than normal X-ray images. Scan times vary depending on the type of scan we are doing.

Your Doctor would have considered the importance to have a CT scan, which will also have been authorised and vetted by one of our Radiologists or Radiographers. Together they will weigh out the clinical importance of the scan against the risks associated with a dose of X-rays. Generally, however, CT scans are considered much safer these days.

Visiting a CT scan unit can be overwhelming as it may be your first time visit or after series of previous scans in the past, but with the availability of capable licenced Radiographers, Radiology Assistants and Radiologist who will/may be attending to you, adequate reassurance and safety is guaranteed. The Computed Tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays and computers to create detailed images of the body. The scanner consists of doughnut-shaped structure about 2 feet thick, through which the patient body passes while lying on the couch. The pictures acquired by the scanner are displayed on a computer unit and can be reported by the Radiologist. The examination may take between 20-40mins depending on the various examinations the patient is scheduled for.

After completion of the examination, it takes about 7-10 working days for result to be made available to the referring doctor or your GP.

Could you be pregnant?

If you may be pregnant please let the Radiographer know BEFORE you have your scan.

CT scan is not usually recommended for pregnant patient routinely unless it’s an emergency, as there is a small risk of harming the baby. CT scan is quick, painless and generally safe. There is a small risk you could have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the scan if you are to be having one for the scan. If contrast is used you will be advised to wait for 15 minutes within the department to ascertain your safety before leaving the department. You can eat and drink as normal after the scan. The amount of radiation exposure during the scan varies, depending on how much of the body to be examined and its equivalent mostly to the amount of exposure between few months and few years of exposure to background radiation.


We routinely give contrast injections for both scanners. These injections enhance and improve the pictures that we take. Contrast for CT contains Iodine whereas contrast for MRI is a gadolinium-based solution. If an injection is required the Radiographer will talk you through this and ask questions such as do you have any allergies?

It is common to have both scans for the same medical reason. This is because both scanners complement each other by showing information about the body in different ways.

The results will go back to your referring Doctor. For Outpatients and GP patients this can take 7-10 working days.


Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 8BJ
T: 01722 336262 E:
© 2021 Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
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