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Having your pictures taken in CT usually takes less than a minute. You will need to lie still on the bed for around 5 minutes to get you into position and while the doctor checks the pictures.
The person who takes your pictures is called a Radiographer. They’ll let you know everything that you need to do and can answer any questions you might have!
Other people you might meet are: a nurse, a play therapist and someone called a Radiologist – that’s the doctor that looks at your pictures.
The CT camera is pretty big, but it needs to be so it can take pictures of your whole body! It looks a bit like a doughnut, and it’s covered in stickers!
The CT bed will move into the doughnut but the camera won’t ever touch you.
All the people in the CT room with you will wear a special outfit – this stops the camera from taking their picture too.
Some CT pictures need a special liquid called ‘contrast’. This helps the pictures to come out brighter.
If you are having pictures taken of your chest or abdomen (tummy) you might need to hold your breath for short periods while we take your picture.
Sometimes the radiographer might need to give you sedation. This is a special medicine to help you feel more relaxed.
Sometimes it can be tricky to stay still long enough to have your pictures taken. If so, doctors might give you a general anaesthetic (or GA) to help you go into a short special sleep just while you have your pictures taken.
It’s really important to keep still while having your picture taken. If you move around, the picture comes out blurry. It’s still okay to breathe normally, blink and stay relaxed.
You might need to wait around before your picture is taken, so it’s a good idea to bring some things to keep you busy – an iPad, books, or other activities that don’t need too much space. If you have a favourite stuffed toy, they can come with you - and have their picture taken too!
The best clothes to wear are comfy ones! It’s important to wear clothes that don’t have prints, sequins, glitter or metal on them, as they can get in the way of the pictures. If you forget, the radiographer will give you a hospital gown to wear while you have your picture taken. If you're having pictures taken of your head, you'll need to remove jewellery like earrings and necklaces too.
Before your appointment, check the requirements of your child’s scan on their appointment letter. If there is anything you are unsure of or don’t understand, please contact Medical Imaging reception on 03 9345 5255.
If you have concerns about your child’s ability to undergo imaging, you may request the services of an educational play therapist. Play therapists are trained to assess and prepare children for imaging and can also provide distraction during your child’s scan. Note that appointments book up quickly, so please request this service in advance, as the play therapist may not be available on the day. Please contact Medical Imaging reception on 03 9345 5255.
It is important to be honest but considerate of your child’s developmental level. It is a good idea to explain to your child why they need the scan. Children over the age of 5 generally cope best when they are informed of their procedure the week prior, and are given the opportunity to process the information and ask questions. Children under 5 are best told about their appointment the day before. You are encouraged to explore the Okee app games and to discuss the content with your child before their appointment.
If your child’s scan requires IV contrast, they will be required to have a cannula (small straw) inserted into a vein with a needle. They may also be required to drink an oral contrast solution an hour before imaging.
If your child is having images taken of their chest or abdomen, they will need to hold their breath briefly.
Sometimes the radiographer might suggest using sedation to help your child feel more relaxed.
If your child is unable to undergo their CT awake, they may need to be booked in for a General Anaesthetic (GA) CT.