Everything you need to know about CT scans

How CT scans work

A CT scanner uses X-rays to create multi-dimensional images of a specific body area which help to diagnose medical conditions. In some cases, contrast media may be injected to provide further detail. You’ll lie on a table which moves inside the scanner to obtain images.

A CT scan can be used to examine most parts of the body, including:

What to expect

A CT is a relatively low-risk procedure as it is non-invasive.

When you arrive, you’ll be asked to fill out a form overviewing your medical history, including any allergies. Depending on the scan, you may need to change into a gown and have a cannula inserted for a contrast injection. It’s very important to lie comfortably on the CT bed – any movement will make the scan less clear. Sometimes you’ll need to hold your breath for a brief period (less than 20 seconds).

The day of the CT

Arrival at clinic
10 - 15 mins
before appointment
1hr prior Paperwork check &
drink oral contrast

1hr prior
Gown & cannula if required
The CT scan 30min procedure

30mins after
Time to go home

Patient stories

Our CT scanners adhere to National Diagnostic Radiation Dose Levels and staff are trained to use the lowest possible dose.


Most of the time, no. However, some scans require you to fast for 2-4 hours beforehand. For others, you may need to follow a special diet for a few days prior to the scan. This will all be established when you make your booking.
It’s best to wear comfortable clothing with no zips or buttons. This reduces your chances of having to get changed into a patient gown.
No, it’s usually advised to keep taking all regular medications. Even if you’re fasting, you can take your tablets with water. While some CT scans require you to pause your medications, you’ll be informed when making your booking.
Generally, no. But your doctor may have a valid reason for wanting the CT scan. This is a discussion to be had with your doctor before making your appointment. Where possible, a scan which doesn’t involve radiation would be used in this situation. However, sometimes there’s no suitable alternative.

Usually, yes, you’re fine to drive afterwards. However, some procedures dictate that you shouldn’t drive. In these cases, a responsible adult would need to drive you home. You’ll be informed of this when making your booking.

Meet Dr Peter Zheng

Consultant Radiologist, Lumus Imaging, Brisbane

“We are constantly adopting the latest technology and ideas, expanding into regional, rural and metropolitan areas, and attracting professionals with genuine talent and enthusiasm at every level. “

Search for your local practice