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Imaging

A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is used to diagnose bone and soft tissue injuries; chest, abdominal, renal, and pelvic disorders; stroke; tumors and cancer.

CT scans are performed at the following HPHA hospital site:

Stratford General Hospital - East Building, Level 1

  • Patients should enter through the Main Entrance.
  • Parking is available in Lot A off Cambria St. or Lot E off of West Gore St.
  • Active screening for COVID-19 is in effect.
  • For appointments after 6 p.m. use the Emergency Department Entrance. Parking is available in Lot G off of Cambria St.

Patient Information

CT Scan

A CT machine is donut shaped and open at both ends. This machine uses x-rays to make detailed pictures of the inside of your body. The radiation used in a CT scanner is higher than a regular X-ray, but the risk with any one scan is small.

How do I prepare for a CT Scan?

What can I expect during a CT Scan?

  • Please proceed to the Imaging Department, in the East Building, Level 1 of the Stratford General Hospital, just off of the June Blanch Lobby.
  • Please arrive at your appointment with time to register. You will need your health card, and a current list of medications and previous surgeries.
  • After registration you may need to fill out a medical history questionnaire.
  • Certain exams require some preparation—you may be asked to drink 1 L of water or oral contrast and/or receive an injection of x-ray dye. The water or oral contrast lets us see the inside of your stomach and bowels. The x-ray dye lets us see the organs and blood vessels. The radiologist will determine if contrast and/or x-ray dye is needed for your exam.
  • Upon entering the CT exam room, a technologist will be available to answer any questions you have.
  • You will then be positioned on the CT table. If your exam re-quires an X-ray dye injection a small needle will be placed in your arm at this time.
  • The technologist will leave the room to start the CT scan. The machine may tell you when to breath and when to hold your breath, please follow the instructions given to you. The bed will move during the exam.
  • If you were injected with X-ray dye, you will be asked to remain in the department for 15min after your test is finished. Drink extra fluids throughout the rest of the day if you have received this dye.
  • Your appointment may take anywhere from 15 minutes to over two hours.
  • The results of your scan will be available to your doctor within 7 days.

What if I am pregnant, or think I may be pregnant?

If your scan is not urgent we will typically postpone the scan; please speak with your doctor.

What if I am claustrophobic?

Your time in the scanner is usually less than five minutes. If you feel you may need medications to be able to complete the test, then please ask your doctor to give you a prescription. If you do decide to take the medication, then you must bring someone with you to drive you home.

May I bring someone with me to my appointment?

  • Family members are always welcome, however there is very limited space in the CT waiting room and they may be asked to wait for you in the main Imaging waiting room.
  • Family members are not permitted in the CT exam room.
  • We are not able to provide child-care while you are having your exam, please plan your visit accordingly.

Can I breastfeed after an injection of X-ray dye?

  • It is safe to continue to breastfeed as you normally would, following the injection of X-ray dye.
  • If you are still concerned about any possible effects to the baby, you can express and discard the breast milk for 24 hours.

CT Biopsy

A core biopsy is performed to obtain small pieces of tissue from a specific area in your body. The tissue will then be examined with a microscope in the lab to help obtain a diagnosis.
  • This procedure can be done in by a CT Scan or Ultrasound Scan.
  • The type of scan is determined by the Radiologist, who will be doing the biopsy.
  • The type of scan is chosen depending on the safest way to reach the area that is to be sampled.

How do I prepare for a biopsy?

  • Follow the directions given to you by the Interventional Radiology Nurse.
  • You should have stopped taking aspirin or any blood thinners as instructed.
  • Please note that although the procedure itself is relatively short (30 minutes) you may be kept in the Imaging Department or Surgical Services for up to 4 hours.
  • Please have someone come with you since you cannot drive yourself home following the biopsy.

What can I expect during a biopsy?

  • The day of the procedure you will be instructed to report to either the Imaging Department or the Surgical Services Department.
  • If needed, blood work will be done and an IV will be started.
    • The nurse may give you a light sedative medication through the IV. Your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels will be monitored during the procedure.
  • You will then be taken to the biopsy procedure room.
  • You will be instructed to lie in a position that enables us to reach the area easily.
  • The Radiologist will mark your skin, clean the area and then inject local freezing in and around the area to be biopsied. Once the freezing is in, you may still feel pressure but there should be no sharp pain.
  • A needle device is used to obtain the samples and a bandage is applied when the exam is over.
  • If you started in Surgical Services, you will return there for several hours to be monitored before you go home. You will need a driver to return home.

What should I expect after the biopsy?

The following symptoms are common and usually go away without any treatment:
  • Light bruising
  • Mild discomfort/pain
The following symptoms require urgent attention. Contact your family doctor immediately, or go to the nearest Emergency Department in your area if you experience these symptoms:
  • Fever– A significant infection may occur in a small minority of patients. It is of utmost importance that treatment for this be started as soon as possible.
  • Pain/ Swelling– Increasing pain with or without swelling may indicate that there is bleeding.
  • Malaise—A feeling of being “unwell”, tired, listless, or loss of appetite will need further attention.

When will I receive the results of my biopsy?

The biopsy samples will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. Results are usually available in two weeks and will be discussed with you at your next doctor’s appointment.

CT Colongraphy – Bowel Prep

CT Colonography is a safe examination of the large bowel (colon).
  • In most cases, the exam takes about 30 minutes to complete.
  • You will not be given sedation but may be given some medication through an IV to relax the colon.
  • Once you are on the CT table a small tube is gently inserted into the rectum.
  • Carbon dioxide will be slowly introduced into your bowel via this tube. You will experience some fullness which will quickly dissipate after the exam.
  • Once the colon is distended sufficiently, the CT images are taken.
Please follow the instructions below carefully to ensure a clean bowel.

CT Colongraphy Bowel Prep Kit

  • You will receive the CT Colonography Bowel Prep Kit.
  • Please be aware that you are required to purchase one more item that is not in the kit: 1 box of PURG-ODAN that contains 2 sachets.
  • Do not read the instructions on the box – instead follow the instructions listed below.

Clear Fluids List

You may have the following;
  • Water
  • Juices without pulp (white grape juice, cranberry or cranapple)
  • Decaffeinated coffee without dairy
  • Decaffeinated soft drinks
  • Popsicles
  • Weak tea without dairy
  • Broth and/or bouillon
  • Juice-based high calorie beverage (BOOST– except chocolate)
  • Jello
Avoid all milk products. Drink more than just water or you may feel faint.

Medications

  • You may continue to take all regular medications through out the bowel prep time.
  • If you are on insulin, ask your physician about dose modifications.

Preparation Instructions

1. Two Days Prior to Your Scan

  • Have a normal dinner. After dinner start on the only clear fluids list (above).
  • Put the barium and Gastrografin in the fridge.
2. The Day Before Your Scan

Breakfast:
  • Dissolve the first sachet of PURG-ODAN in a glass of cold water stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until completely dissolved. If the solution heats while stirring, let it cool or add more cold water before drinking.
    • o Drink this glass followed by an equal or larger glass of juice.
    • o Drink 4 or 5 more glasses of clear fluid over the next hour.
    • o You will experience frequent bowel movements which may occur within an hour. Stay close to a washroom. Wet wipes are easier than toilet paper.
  • One hour after taking PURG-ODAN take 100ml of barium (READI-CAT). Give the container a shake prior to consuming. It may be easier to drink with a straw.
    • o You may have other clear fluids from the list above as needed.

Snack: Popsicle or decaffeinated soft drink

Lunch:
  • Broth, bouillon, or BOOST (except chocolate).
  • Then take the remaining barium (READI-CAT).

Snack: Popsicle or decaffeinated soft drink

Dinner: at about 5 or 6pm with clear fluids as needed

  • Take the second sachet of PURG-ODAN exactly as per breakfast instructions. If the solution heats while stirring, let it cool or add more cold water before drinking.
    • Drink 4 or 5 glasses of clear fluid over the next hour.
    • You will experience frequent bowel movements which may occur within an hour. Stay close to a washroom.
  • You can have more clear fluids as desired
At 8 p.m.:
  • Take the Gastrografin and mix it with 8 ounces of clear fluid, we recommend juice or water with flavoured crystals. Again, this may be easier to tolerate with a straw.
  • No fluids after midnight except sips of fluid for taking any medication in the morning.
3. The Day of Your Scan
  • NO breakfast
    • If you are diabetic, you may have a light breakfast to prevent an insulin reaction.
  • Approximately 2 HOURS before the test—you may have sips of clear fluid to take any of your medications
  • After arriving in the Imaging Department and once you have completed registration and have been changed for the exam: Try to empty your bowels one last time just before the test to ensure little to no fluid is left in the bowel/rectum.
  • After the test you can resume your normal diet and medication schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions


It’s been a few hours since I took the Purg-odan and I still haven’t had a bowel movement, what should I do?

  • Continue with the prep. Everybody’s digestive system works differently.
  • If there are no results after the second Purg-odan dose, contact your doctor.

What should I do if I get nausea / vomiting during the preparation?

  • If you experience any vomiting take 25 mg of Gravol, wait 30 minutes and continue with the rest of the prep.
  • If vomiting persists, call your doc-tor.

Is there a limit to the amount of fluids I can take the day before the exam?

  • No, you can take as much fluid or Boost (except chocolate) as you like.
  • You only need to limit your fluid intake on the day of the exam.
Should I continue to take my current medications while doing the prep?
  • There will be no change to your medications, take as directed.
  • Diabetic patients – the dosage of your pills may need to be adjusted as a result of the food restrictions. Before the start of your prep, please consult with your doctor for instructions about your diabetic medication. We recommend that you bring your medication and some food with you to the appointment.
Can I drive home or go back to work after the procedure?
  • Yes, resume your normal activities as well as your normal diet.

CT Colongraphy – Bowel Prep – Working the Day Before the Scan

CT Colonography is a safe examination of the large bowel (colon).

  • In most cases, the exam takes about 30 minutes to complete.
  • You will not be given sedation but may be given some medication through an IV to relax the colon.
  • Once you are on the CT table a small tube is gently inserted into the rectum.
  • Carbon dioxide will be slowly introduced into your bowel via this tube. You will experience some fullness which will quickly dissipate after the exam.
  • Once the colon is distended sufficiently, the CT images are taken.

Please follow the instructions below carefully to ensure a clean bowel.

CT Colongraphy Bowel Prep Kit

  • You will receive the CT Colonography Bowel Prep Kit.
  • Please be aware that you are required to purchase one more item that is not in the kit: 1 box of PURG-ODAN that contains 2 sachets.
  • Do not read the instructions on the box – instead follow the instructions listed below.

Clear Fluids List

You may have the following;

  • Water
  • Juices without pulp (white grape juice, cranberry or cranapple)
  • Decaffeinated coffee without dairy
  • Decaffeinated soft drinks
  • Popsicles
  • Weak tea without dairy
  • Broth and/or bouillon
  • Juice-based high calorie beverage (BOOST– except chocolate)
  • Jello
Avoid all milk products. Drink more than just water or you may feel faint.

Medications

  • You may continue to take all regular medications through out the bowel prep time.
  • If you are on insulin, ask your physician about dose modifications.

Preparation Instructions

1. Two Days Prior to Your Scan

Put the barium and Gastrografin in the fridge.

Dinner: Have a normal dinner. After dinner start on the only clear fluids list (above) and do the following:

  • Dissolve the first sachet of PURG-ODAN in a glass of cold water stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until completely dissolved. If the solution heats while stirring, let it cool or add more cold water before drinking.
    • Drink this glass followed by an equal or larger glass of juice.
    • Drink 4 or 5 more glasses of clear fluid over the next hour.
    • You will experience frequent bowel movements which may occur within an hour. Stay close to a washroom. Wet wipes are easier than toilet paper.
  • One hour after taking PURG-ODAN take 100ml of barium (READI-CAT). It may be easier to drink with a straw.
  • You may have other clear fluids from the list above as needed.

Snack: Popsicle or decaffeinated soft drink

Bedtime: Take remaining barium (READI-CAT)

2. The Day Before Your Scan

During your work day: Only consume items allowed from the clear fluid list.

Dinner: Clear fluids at about 5 or 6 p.m.
  • Take the second sachet of PURG-ODAN exactly as per previous days’ instructions. If the solution heats while stirring, let it cool or add more cold water before drinking.
    • Drink 4 or 5 glasses of clear fluid over the next hour.
    • You will experience frequent bowel movements which may occur within an hour. Stay close to a washroom.
  • You can have more clear fluids as desired
8 p.m.:
  • Take the Gastrografin and mix it with 8 ounces of clear fluid, we recommend juice or water with flavoured crystals. Again, this may be easier to tolerate with a straw.
  • No fluids after midnight except sips of fluid for taking any medication in the morning.
3. The Day of Your Scan

  • NO breakfast
    • o If you are diabetic, you may have a light breakfast to prevent an insulin reaction. 
  • Approximately 2 HOURS before the test—you may have sips of clear fluid to take any of your medications 
  • After arriving in the Imaging Department and once you have completed registration and have been changed for the exam: Try to empty your bowels one last time just before the test to ensure little to no fluid is left in the bowel/rectum. 
  • After the test you can resume your normal diet and medication schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s been a few hours since I took the Purg-odan and I still haven’t had a bowel movement, what should I do?
  • Continue with the prep. Everybody’s digestive system works differently.
  • If there are no results after the second Purg-odan dose, contact your doctor.
What should I do if I get nausea / vomiting during the preparation? I
  • f you experience any vomiting take 25 mg of Gravol, wait 30 minutes and continue with the rest of the prep.
  • If vomiting persists, call your doc-tor.
Is there a limit to the amount of fluids I can take the day before the exam?
  • No, you can take as much fluid or Boost (except chocolate) as you like.
  • You only need to limit your fluid intake on the day of the exam.
Should I continue to take my current medications while doing the prep?
  • There will be no change to your medications, take as directed.
  • Diabetic patients – the dosage of your pills may need to be adjusted as a result of the food restrictions. Before the start of your prep, please consult with your doctor for instructions about your diabetic medication. We recommend that you bring your medication and some food with you to the appointment.
Can I drive home or go back to work after the procedure?
  • Yes, resume your normal activities as well as your normal diet.