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CT scan

A CT scan uses x-rays to view certain portions of the body from all sides. During the exam, an entire series of x-rays is made of organs or other body parts.

Preparation

Metal can disrupt the CT scan. So it's important that there are no metal objects present around the parts of the body for which images will be made. If your child has metal screws, clips, drains or pumps with metal parts in his/her body, then please notify the doctor and the laboratory technician.

Use of contrast fluid
Sometimes, the doctor will use contrast fluid to make organs or other parts of the body more visible on the CT scan. The doctor will discuss this with you beforehand. To administer the contrast fluid, your child will be given an IV. Your child will be given an injection in his/her arm or hand; a thin, plastic tube (the IV tube, or "infusion") then remains in the blood vessel. During the exam, the contrast fluid is administered via this infusion. Since the injection is painful, your child can be given a spray or bandage with EMLA salve at the location of the injection. After the insertion of the infusion, your child will be given a brace to keep his or her arm straight. If your child is anxious about the injection and the infusion, then please indicate this to the medical teaching staff. They can help you and your child with this.
When using contrast fluid, your child must have an empty stomach for at least two hours prior to the exam, so he/she may not eat or drink anything.

The examination/treatment

The scan device makes photos using x-rays. You can't see or feel x-rays with the naked eye, they go through your skin and clothing. During the CT scan, there must be as few people in the room as possible. If your child finds this scary and bothersome, then one parent may remain behind after consultation.

A laboratory technician makes the CT scan. This person stands on the other side of the glass wall. There is a large, round, lighted opening in the middle of the scanning device. Your child lies on his/her back on a long examination table. Depending on the part of the body to be scanned, they will go into the opening either head or feet-first. For a successful exam, it's essential that your child remain still. Sometimes, a vacuum mattress is used for this as an accessory (suitable for children up to two years old). In addition, straps or pillows can be used - to keep the head still, for example. The laboratory technician sits behind a window. He or she can communicate with your child via an intercom and can see the photos on a screen. For some examinations, we ask your child to follow breathing instructions. First, an overview photo is made. When the contrast fluid is administered via the infusion, this is administered after the overview photo. Then the scan is made. The administration of the contrast fluid can sometimes cause a warm feeling in your child's body, a strange taste in the mouth or the feeling that he/she must pee. This subsides quickly. A CT scan does not hurt and it takes about 20 minutes.




At the end of the process, the doctor and the laboratory employee take a look to see whether the scan was successful. Only then can your child get off the table. If contrast fluid has been administered via the infusion, the laboratory technician takes the infusion out after 10 minutes. After the exam, your child may go home or to the ward right away. After the exam, it's important that he or she gets plenty to drink. This helps the contrast fluid leave the body more rapidly.

Aftercare

The doctor requesting the CT scan will give you and your child the results. This happens during your next appointment in the hospital. The doctor discusses what can be seen on the scan.

There are no side effects to a CT scan; complications rarely occur.

Questions

If you have any questions about this exam, please contact the planning office: 088-9727650.

If you have any questions or would like recommendations about preparation and support, you can always contact our medical education staff: medischpedagogischezorg@prinsesmaximacentrum.nl.