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CT Scan

A computed tomography scan, also called a CAT scan or CT scan, is a valuable medical exam that combines X-rays and sophisticated computers to generate detailed anatomical images. CT scans have been performed safely and successfully for almost 30 years.

A CT scan is a non-invasive procedure, allowing physicians to see inside your body via the 2-D images it generates. Using a computer, these images can also be presented in 3-D for in-depth clinical evaluation.

You may need a CT scan as a result of illness or injury, or when a physician suspects a medical problem that cannot easily be detected with a routine physical examination. Markham Stouffville Hospital offers CT scans at both its Markham and Uxbridge sites, using the latest generation of CT technology from Siemens (Markham) and GE Healthcare (Uxbridge). This advanced equipment allows us to produce images of unprecedented detail in very short time - using lower radiation doses. CT scans are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through our emergency department. For a routine CT scan, your appointment will be located in the diagnostic services department.

fileClick here to view the CT scan brochure.

Location and Contact Information

To make a CT scan appointment at the Markham site, please visit the Make an Appointment page.

To make a CT scan appointment at the Uxbridge site, please call 905 852- 9771 ext. 5249.

Markham Site

We suggest parking in the main hospital parking lot, opposite the Link Lobby Entrance and Medical Office Building, when visiting diagnostic services.

Please go to the central registration desk on the main floor of Building A, before heading to diagnostic services on the second floor in Building B where you'll be directed to the CT scan waiting room.

Uxbridge Site

Diagnostic services is located in Uxbridge Cottage Hospital – 4 Campbell Drive, Uxbridge.

For more information on parking at the Markham or Uxbridge sites, please click here.

Care Providers

A CT scan will be performed by a CT technologist.

What You Should Know

The staff at Markham Stouffville Hospital's CT Centres are here to make your test as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Your physician and/or CT technologist will explain the specific details of your upcoming examination.

Before Your Visit

Depending on the test you are having, you may have to fast for four hours before your test. Patients who are having a cardiac CT scan should avoid caffeine products for 24 hours before their test and should also stop taking ED medications such as Viagra and Ciallis. Caffeine products include: coffee and tea (decaffeinated and caffeinated), chocolate, cocoa, soda, pop and any medication or supplements that may have caffeine.

Patients who are having a colonography will have to prepare for their scan two days in advance. This preparation will involve the use of barium and laxatives. For more information on this prep, please view the colonography preparation sheet here.

Barium will have to be picked up from the hospital two days in advance as it is not available over-the-counter.

Patients who are having an Enteroclysis (a CT scan of the small bowel) will have specific preparation insturctions. Download the Enteroclysis prepartion sheet.

Please do not wear jewellery or perfume on the day of your test.

Please arrive on time for your appointment. You will be given your arrival time and preparation instructions when you book your test. Please bring your health card and your requisition (if your physician has provided you with one).

During Your Visit

You will be taken from the CT waiting room to the CT scanning room, where you will see a table that is connected to a large doughnut-shaped device, called a gantry.  Our technologist will ask you to lie on the padded table and make sure you are comfortable. You will be asked to lie very still during the scan and hold your breath for a short amount of time to minimize any body movement.

During the scan, you might hear a humming or buzzing noise, but you should not feel anything unusual. You may feel the table move while we take images of certain parts of your body. The technologist will monitor you through a window during the entire exam and will communicate with you through an intercom.

Depending on the exam, a solution called contrast may be administered with an IV to help improve accuracy. Contrast (known as X-ray dye) is a liquid solution that improves visibility of specific areas of the body, such as blood vessels or the digestive tract. It is very important to let your doctor and CT technologist know beforehand if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast.

Your total time spent in the CT department should be approximately 60 to 90 minutes. Patients who are having a body scan will be required to change into a hospital gown.

After Your Visit

Your CT radiologist will analyze and interpret your images and provide a report to your doctor or specialist. Within a week, your physician should be able to discuss the results with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a CT scan take? The length of your exam is dependent on the part of the body being scanned. For a scan of your abdomen or pelvis, we will give you a drink called contrast to highlight your stomach and intestines. While the scan itself only takes a few seconds, the drink takes 60 minutes to reach the desired location. Expect to be in our CT department for around 90 minutes. For any other scans, allow 15 to 30 minutes, including the time it takes for the technologist and/or radiologist to review the images.
How safe is a CT examination? CT is a safe and effective diagnostic procedure. In fact, millions of CT exams are performed in Canada every year. Like many other imaging technologies, the latest Siemens and GE Healthcare systems and equipment have been designed to include dose-reduction features, minimizing your exposure to radiation. The profession is supported by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), which provides continuing education, certification and a registry of radiology technologists. Our healthcare professionals are experts who can safely and skillfully operate the CT scanner, obtaining the best images to assist your doctor in making an accurate diagnosis.
Will I know the results of my CT scan immediately? The CT radiologist will analyze and interpret your images and provide a report to your physician or specialist within a week of your scan.

Additional Resources

Click here to learn more about contrast solutions.