CT scans can detect or monitor a number of health conditions ranging from strokes and broken bones, to cancer and problems with your digestive system. Doctors may also use CT scans before surgery to gather information, or to guide them during procedures such as biopsies.
See our Uses of a CT scan section for more information.
No, you won’t get your CT scan results straightaway. A specialist doctor will review the results and send a report to the doctor who referred you for a CT scan. This can take a week or two.
No, a CT scan isn’t painful although you may feel a bit uncomfortable staying still while the scan is happening.
See our CT scan procedure section for more information.
The CT scan usually takes only a few minutes, but you may need to stay around for a little longer after the scan. For example, if your radiographer gave you a contrast medium, you’ll need to wait to check you haven’t had any reaction to it.
See our Aftercare for CT scan section for more information.
Did our CT scan information help you?
We’d love to hear what you think. Our short survey takes just a few minutes to complete and helps us to keep improving our health information.
This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
Any information about a treatment or procedure is generic, and does not necessarily describe that treatment or procedure as delivered by Bupa or its associated providers.
The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. We do not accept advertising on this page.
- Your CT scan. Royal College of Radiologists. www.rcr.ac.uk, accessed 14 April 2021
- Radiology FAQs. Royal College of Radiologists. www.rcr.ac.uk, accessed 14 April 2021
- Computed tomography. MSD Manual Professional Version. www.msdmanuals.com, last full review/revision May 2019
- Radiology. Oxford handbook of clinical medicine. Oxford Medicine Online. oxfordmedicine.com, published September 2017
- CT scan. Cancer Research UK. www.cancerresearchuk.org, last reviewed 5 March 2019
- Computed tomography (CT) – body. Radiological Society of North America. www.radiologyinfo.org, reviewed 10 April 2018
- Standards of practice for computed tomography colonography (CTC). Royal College of Radiologists. www.rcr.ac.uk, published January 2021
- Computerised tomography (CT) scans. PatientPro. patient.info/doctor, last edited 8 July 2015
- Computed tomography (CT) – abdomen and pelvis. Radiological Society of North America. www.radiologyinfo.org, reviewed 18 June 2018
- Risks of medical radiation. MSD Manual Professional Version. www.msdmanuals.com, last full review/revision May 2019
- Guidance: exposure to ionising radiation from medical imaging: safety advice. Public Health England. www.gov.uk, published 1 August 2014
- Computer tomography (CT) safety during pregnancy. Radiological Society of North America. www.radiologyinfo.org, reviewed 20 February 2019
- Radiographic contrast agents and contrast reactions. MSD Manual Professional Version. www.msdmanuals.com, last full review/revision May 2019