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CT Scans for Babies and Children

Children’s Services
Colchester Hospital
Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan (short for computerised tomography) is a type of X-ray that shows up more than just the hard parts of the body, like bone. The beam of X-rays moves in a circle around the body, providing different views of the same organ or tissue in much greater detail than a conventional X-ray.

More Information

Your doctor has requested your child has a CT scan to help diagnose your child’s condition and plan treatment.

The CT uses X-rays and there are known risks with radiation. CT scans result in a low level exposure and the amount of radiation children receive from a CT scan is limited.

You will be asked to attend the Children’s Elective Care Unit before the scan for your child to be prepared. Your appointment letter will give you the details of date and time.

A play specialist or nurse will explain what will happen during the procedure and help prepare your child using pictures and play before you go to meet the radiographers in the CT Department.

A play specialist or nurse will accompany you to the department.
During the scan your child will need to lie on a table that will slide into the scanner, and will need to keep very still for the duration of the scan or the pictures may be blurred and difficult to interpret.

The scan usually lasts for 10-15 minutes but this can vary. You will be informed of the likely time the scan will take before going in. Your child will be able to go home straight after the scan.

We must, by law, obtain written consent from the person with parental responsibility before some procedures.
The radiographer may need to give an injection of contrast medium to enhance the pictures during the scan. If this is needed a small tube called a cannula will be inserted into a vein by a doctor or nurse before your child goes to the CT department. Anaesthetic cream or spray will be used to make this as painless as possible.
The play specialist will support you and your child through this procedure. The cannula will be removed as soon as the scan is finished. You will be requested to attend 1-3 hours before the scan time to allow enough time for this to be performed.

Your child can eat and drink normally after the scan.

The radiologist will review the scan results the same day and within a few days a report of the scan will be sent to your consultant who will discuss the results with you at your next outpatient appointment or sooner if needed.

If you have any other concerns or queries please ask the nurse or doctor caring for your child or phone either of the numbers on the front of this leaflet or one of those below:

Children’s Ward Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

Children’s Elective Care Unit Tel: 01206 744237 or 742029

Children’s Outpatient Unit Tel: 01206 746177

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