CT Scan

CT stands for Computed Tomography. A CT scan uses x-ray technology to take multiple views of the inside of the body. Compared to regular x-rays, a CT scan can take clearer and more detailed images of organs, bone, soft tissue, blood vessels, and other parts of the body.

Some of the primary uses for CT scans include:

  • Looking for bleeding inside the body, especially the in the skull
  • Determining the size and location of a tumour
  • Diagnosing skeletal problems
  • Diagnosing blood vessel diseases
  • Guiding biopsies and other tests
  • Planning surgery
  • Identifying injuries from trauma

You will lie on a narrow table which slides through the round opening of the machine during the exam.

Depending on the type of exam, we may require a “contrast medium” to help us see different organs or tissues in the body. Some CT scans require you to drink a liquid before the scan. You will take this by mouth.

Some CT scans require you to get your contrast medium intravenously (IV) that will be inserted into a vein in your arm before you have your scan done. The contrast will be injected through the IV during your CT scan. 

You may be in our department for up to two hours, depending on what type of CT scan you are having.


The CT images will be sent to a radiologist who will analyze them. Your doctor will receive the results in approximately seven to 10 days, and discuss them with you. Please note that the person conducting the test will not be able to give you the results of your test. Only a doctor, primary care provider, or specialist can provide you with that information.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a CT scan, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

  • Allergic reaction to contrast material 
  • Damage to the kidney from contrast material 
  • Extravasation of contrast material (leaks into the tissue around the vein where the IV was placed)

Our staff will check to see if you are at an increased risk for any of these complications. You will be monitored in our department for an allergic reaction by our CT team, and our highly skilled staff are trained to recognize any signs of an allergic reaction quickly.

You are exposed to some radiation during a CT scan. This risk increases the more times you are exposed to radiation and is more of a concern for pregnant women and children. CT scans are usually not recommended for pregnant women.

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test.


Choosing Wisely Canada

Radiological Society of North America

Canadian Association of Radiologists

Canadian Radiation Protection Association


Diagnostic Imaging Department
Level 1, Norman Building
Bluewater Health, Sarnia
89 Norman Street, Sarnia, ON N7T 6S3

Hours & Contact

Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm 
General Information Tel: 519-464-4400, Ext. 5269
To book an appointment:
Tel: 519-464-4400, Ext. 5466

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