How Long Does A CT Scan Take?

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How Long Does A CT Scan Take?

How Long Does A CT Scan Take?

While Computed Tomography or CT scans have become the most common diagnostic modality doctors recommend to assess our internal anatomy, people often seek to know how long a CT scan takes! If you have a similar query before you pursue such a scan, this blog can guide you!     

So, sit back and continue reading with me! 

Overview: What Is A CT Scan and How Long Does A CT Scan Take?

A CT is an imaging test that involves a series of X-ray beams to create multiple-angled pictures of your internal organs, bones, tissues, and blood vessels and thereby locate abnormalities, if any! 

Doctors recommend this scan to identify a wide range of internal disorders and diseases, from internal injuries to tumors and cancers.  

Perhaps, CT scans are more accurate than standard X-ray scans! Unlike an X-ray study, a CT offers a 360-degree view of your body structure and can help doctors fetch a detailed report on your health condition. 

CT scans can efficiently identify the location and extent of your internal abnormality, be it a kidney stone or a malignant lung lesion. 

Well, how long a CT scan takes depends on the reason for pursuing the scan! However, typically, it takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete the screening. 

Sometimes, when the internal problem is deep and more complex, the scan may take up to 45 minutes or even more!        

Besides, in case your doctor recommends a contrast-enhanced CT, the process may involve some more time for the administration of the contrast dye and waiting for it to come into effect. The contrast dye is nothing but a radioactive tracer that enhances the image clarity during a CT scan. 

When Do Doctors Recommend A CT Scan?

Your doctor may recommend a CT scan for various reasons. They are as follows. 

Disease Diagnosis

First and foremost, doctors order a CT to detect different diseases, such as bone fractures, blood clots, cysts, fibroids, stones, tumors, internal bleeding, stroke, brain or spinal cord injuries, benign or malignant tumors, bowel disorders, infections, inflammations, and more! 

Guiding An Invasive Test or Treatment Course

Then, doctors prescribe CT scans to guide a particular treatment course or test. For instance, if you have cancer and require a biopsy invasion to further confirm the cancer stage and spread, your doctor is likely to ask for a CT scan. Doctors also use CT scans to plan and guide major surgeries like the one meant to drain abscesses and cancer treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy. 

Monitoring Post-Treatment Health Conditions

Once your doctors can secure relief for you, they may ask for a CT scan to check the treatment response and your contemporary health condition. For example, your doctor may prescribe a CT to see whether your kidney or bladder stones have left your body after an oral medication course.    

CT Scan: A Non-invasive, Painless, and Quick Process!

Do you know why doctors rely on CT scans for emergency cases, like accidents and injuries?

Of course, image clarity and technological availability are the two major factors, but two more salient features of CT scan make it so crucial. 

Well, a CT is non-invasive, and it does not indulge in any wear and tear to the body and is, therefore, painless. A CT scan is quick. It can offer results soon to initiate emergency treatment. 

During a CT scan, a radiology team comes into action. While you enter the radiology lab, the caregivers ask you to lie on a table or bed and then move the scanner around your body to see the internal structures, thereafter creating the visuals on a computer screen. 

In the case of a contrast-enhanced CT, the caregivers administer the contrast dye intravenously or orally a few hours before you enter the test lab. Otherwise, they straightway call you inside during the given time slot. 

Once the test is complete, the radiology team asks you to leave the lab and wait in the restroom for some time. This is to check whether the CT brings forth any side effects! After some time, you get free to leave for home or work.   

How to Prepare for A CT Scan?

Although a CT scan does not require any special preparation, there’s a check that you can follow to ensure that your scan goes smoothly. They are the following. 

  1. You must talk to your doctor about the medications and supplement you intake daily! There lay certain medications that your doctor may ask you to stop for a day or two before the CT scan. 
  2. Always remember that a CT scan does not apply to all! If you are below 18 years, pregnant, breastfeeding, or have some kind of allergies, make sure you discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor may order a low-dose CT or another safer alternative like MRI or Ultrasound.   
  3. The healthcare provider may ask you to stop eating or drinking a few hours before the CT scan. Make sure you ask them and follow them accordingly. 
  4. Try avoiding alcohol or caffeine before your CT scan to eliminate the possibility of indigestion and uneasiness during the scan. 
  5. Try wearing loose clothes when approaching the CT scan at the diagnostic center. You never know whether or not they shall provide you with a gown to wear during the test. 

Does CT Scan Have Risks?

Alas! CT scans can fall heavy on your health sometimes though such cases are very rare! The CT process involves the use of radiation, and when the dosage goes high, it may create further health complications like – 

  • Cancer
  • Kidney damage, and
  • Birth defects to an unborn baby. 

Moreover, the contrast dye you intake can lead to certain side effects, such as –

  • Skin rashes or infections around the area of intervention, 
  • Fatigue, 
  • Nausea or vomiting, 
  • Fever, 
  • Diarrhea, etc. 

Yet again, they are temporary ones and shall go away once the dye exits your body.  

Final Thoughts:

So, the bottom line is a CT scan is one of the quickest diagnostic solutions that the advancement of medical technologies has contributed to! It is cheap and crucial for detecting myriads of diseases that a traditional X-ray or blood test may not discover. A CT can help doctors identify abnormalities at its early stage and initiate the treatment early! 

I hope your query on how long a CT scan takes is clear now, and you can be all set to undertake your scan now! If you need more insight on CT scans, do not hesitate to reach us at

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Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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