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Radiology (Xray)

CT Scan & Injection

Contact: RVI: (0191) 282 4330; Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012

What is a CT scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • CT stand for Computerised Tomography and is a special type of x-ray that can look at various parts of the body including the brain, spine, chest, abdomen and joints.  The information from the x-rays is recorded in a series of cross sectional pictures or scans that can be built up into three dimensional image of the area being examined.

What is a CT scan and injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • You have been referred for a CT and consideration of a CT guided injection.  This involves using the CT scanner to produce cross sectional pictures of the area that you are having problems with.  These pictures are then used to guide the injection into the right place.

Who performs the scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The person who carries out the examination is called a radiologist (specialist x-ray doctor) and a radiographer.  They will explain the procedure to you and show you how to position yourself.  It is important that you like still for the duration of the scan.

What preparation will I need?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Usually no preparation is required.  Printed instructions will be given to you with your appointment information if any preparation is required.

I am diabetic, does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Yes.  The preparation procedure may change.  Please ring the appropriate radiology department telephone number (as below) at the hospital you are attending and speak to a member of the medical staff (also see next question).
  • Royal Victoria Infirmary Radiology Appointments     (0191) 282 4330 (8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman Hospital Radiology Appointments              (0191) 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm)

I take Metformin (Glucophage, Avandamet) Tablets. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Yes. Metformin (Glucophage, Avandamet) is most commonly taken by diabetic patients to control blood sugar, but occasionally is taken for other conditions.  If you are taking Metformin, your preparation for the procedure may change.  Please ring the appropriate help-line telephone number, as above, and speak to a member of staff, who will be able to advise you.

Will anything prevent me from having the injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Yes.  You should inform the hospital consultant looking after you, or the x-ray department as soon as possible (see telephone numbers above) if you are taking any tablets to thin the blood (warfarin, aspirin or clopidogrel) or if you have a medical condition which makes it hard for your blood to clot.  Please ring the appropriate help-line telephone number (as above), and speak to a member of staff, who will be able to advise you.

What if I am pregnant?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • CT scanning of pregnant women should be avoided whenever possible.  If you think you maybe pregnant it is very important that you tell the nurse or radiographer before your scan.  To avoid accidental irradiation, all females between the ages of 11 and 55 years are asked the date of their last menstrual period (LMP).  From this information x-ray staff will decide if there is cause for the CT examination to be postponed or it is safe to continue.

What happens before my scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • When you arrive in the department you should report to the Radiology Reception desk, where your personal details will be checked to ensure that your records are accurate and up to date.
  • You will then be directed towards the CT waiting area, where a nurse, radiographic assistant or radiographer will welcome you, and also explain the scanning procedure to you.
  • The nurse or radiographer will go through a check list with you and will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your scan.
  • Depending on which area of your body is to be scanned, you may be asked to undress, in which case, a gown will be provided.

What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • You will be asked to lie on a couch which passes in and out of the CT scanner, where the X-rays are produced.  The scan will be performed by a radiographer. 
  • You may be asked to obey verbal instructions, for example “hold your breath” for a few seconds, if the chest or upper abdomen is being examined.
  • A wire marker will be placed over the area where the injection may take place.
  • The doctor who arrange for you to have this examination has asked the radiologist to consider giving an injection as part of the test.  The radiologist will explain whether an injection is necessary once the area has been scanned.
  • If the injection is going to take place, a pen mark will be made on your skin, and then the area will be cleaned with a sterilising solution to kill any bacteria on the skin surface.
  • The injection, if necessary, will be of local anaesthetic (see below) and/or steroid medication.  The radiologist will answer any questions you have about the injection at the time.  If you have concerns before the test please contact the doctor who you saw in clinic who will be able to discuss the injection further with you.
  • If local anaesthetic or steroid medication has been injected, you may be given a form to take away to monitor any change in your symptoms.  The radiologist will explain how you should complete this form and how to return it.

During the injection of local anaesthetic:

  • Your radiologist will ask you to keep still while the injection is given.
  • You may notice a stinging sensation or warm tingling feeling as the anaesthetic begins to take effect.
  • Your procedure will only go ahead when you and your radiologist are sure that the area is numb.
  • If you are not having sedation, you will remain alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Your radiologist is always near to you and you can speak to him/her whenever you want to.

How long does my scan take?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The examination will take around half an hour.



How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • A stinging sensation or warm tingling feeling as the anaesthetic begins to take effect may be noticed.  Your procedure will only go ahead when you and your radiologist are sure that the area is numb.  The area injected may feel a little uncomfortable or tight for a few minutes after the injection has been performed: this usually stops within a few minutes.

What are the benefits of having a CT and injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • This examination will help us make the correct diagnosis so you will be able to be given the correct treatment.  The injection may relieve some of your symptoms.

Are there any risks associated with CT and injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Like all X-ray machines, a CT scanner produces potentially harmful X-rays.  Modern equipment is designed to keep the dose to patients as low as possible.  If your doctor has asked for a scan, then he or she will have decided that the benefit of having the information that the scan gives, is greater than the risk of the dose of radiation.
  • Since X-rays can harm unborn babies, if you are, or could be, pregnant, please tell the radiographer or nurse before you have the scan.  This is very important.

Are there any side effects?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The radiologist will explain the potential side effects due to the injection.

Can I drive home afterwards?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • We advise that you do not drive home immediately after an injection or for the remainder of that day.  You should arrange alternative transport.

I need an ambulance/transport. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If you need an ambulance/transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it.  You will need to give them three working days’ notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.

When will I get my results?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • A report will be sent to the Consultant who asked for this test to be performed.  If you were given a form to take away and complete, a full report cannot be sent out until this form has been returned.  You should make an appointment to discuss the results with the doctor in outpatients.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If your appointment time is not convenient please contact the relevant hospital department so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else.
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments 0191 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm)
  • RVI X-ray Appointments         0191 282 4330 (08.30am-5.00pm)

What if I have any comments, suggestions or complaints?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:
  • The Departmental Manager, X-ray Department, Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • The Departmental Manager, Main X-ray Department, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN
  • Tel: 0191 282 1099
  • Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard tell: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)
  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on Freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email
  • Information produced by Sharon Iles, Superintendent Radiographer.
  • Dr Geoff Hide, Consultant Radiologist
  • Dr John Tuckett, Consultant Radiologist

Diagnostic Imaging DatasetShow [+]Hide [-]

  • Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.
  • Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.
  • You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:
  • Telephone: 0845 300 6016 
  • Email: 
  • Website:
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