CT Imaging

The Birmingham Bowel Clinic offers a complete CT imaging service on state of the art multi detector CT machines.

CT or Computer Tomography is a special X-ray machine that produces an image of a cross-section, or slice, of the body. The scanner consists of a ‘doughnut’ shaped structure, or gantry, about two feet thick, through which you pass on a couch. The information passes to a computer that then produces a picture of the internal structure of the body.

They produce in excess of 600 images of the body, which can be used to show internal structures in 2D and 3D planes.

We perform a CT scan for a number of reasons. Most common is to diagnose underlying conditions or to follow up conditions to assess the treatment, either surgical or oncological therapies you may have had. There are a number of CT protocols which we use at Birmingham Bowel Clinic:

1. A GI (gastrointestinal) CT abdomen and pelvis. This is used for initial assessment and follow up. We administer oral contrast the night before and one hour before the CT examination to highlight all of the bowel. It gives fantastic information of the bowel and all structures within the abdomen and pelvis.

2. A CT chest. This is often included in the initial CT (GI abdomen)and pelvis to ensure that there is no abnormality there. We will also perform this as part of a follow-up for cancer. CT colonography (CTC) looks specifically at the colon in a similar way to colonoscopy. (Please click here to read more about CTC colonography).


Is there any preparation?

We often ask that you do not eat for 4 hours before the examination. You will generally attend the radiology department 1 hour before your appointment time to allow us to prepare you correctly for your CT. If you are having a CT Colonography, the preparation is slightly different (please refer to CTC colonography section for further details).


What does a CT Scan involve?

You will typically attend the radiology department 1 hour before your appointment time so that you can drink (about one litre) of dilute contrast to outline the upper bowel. You will be asked to remove some of your clothes and wear a hospital gown. A small cannula will be placed into a vein to allow the administration of a “dye”, known as contrast, to be given. This improves the quality of the scan and demonstrates accurately all the organs and blood vessels in your abdomen.


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