Skip to main content
Information last updated 17 November 2022
The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Computerised Tomography

Computerised Axial Tomography (CT or CAT) is a diagnostic tool that produces detailed cross-sectional pictures of the body. The body is scanned by an x-ray tube and a computer transforms the data to produce high resolution pictures of the body.

CT scans are an effective way to view different parts of the body, including soft tissues, lungs, blood vessels, and bones.

During a CT scan, you lie in a donut-like machine while the x-ray parts spins sounding much like a washing machine or plane engine. A series of X-rays are taken from different angles. These pictures are then sent to a computer, where they’re combined to create images of slices, or cross-sections, of the body. They may also be combined to produce three-dimensional images of the body.

The examination requires that patient to lay down on the CT Couch, remain still and follow instructions, such as holding their breath. Some patients, i.e. the very young, will require a General Anaesthetic to achieve a successful examination. Please discuss your concerns with your referring doctor or our dedicated specialist CT Radiographers.

How to access this service

An appointment must be made for all CT studies. Appointments may be made by telephoning (08) 8161 6055.

Many of our studies require special preparation. Instructions will be given at the time the appointment is made. If these instructions are not followed it may not be possible to carry out the study and a new time will need to be booked so please be sure to follow instructions carefully.

Referral requirements

A referral letter or request form is required from your doctor prior to booking a study. Please bring these when you come to the SAMI service at WCH.

Making an appointment

An appointment must be made for all CT studies. Appointments may be made by telephoning (08) 8161 6055.


Appointments: Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

Outside of this time a CT service is provided for inpatient and emergency care. Your doctor will arrange this if necessary.


Level 2, Zone A, Rogerson Building

Further information

Include important additional information about your service for consumers here, as paragraph text or FAQs. Include links to local (WCHN) facts sheets, booklets, and other publications for consumers.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Will the CT imaging Examination Hurt?

No, CT imaging itself should cause no pain. CT imaging requires that the patient remain still during the examination. For some patients, keeping still for some time may be uncomfortable. The CT examination itself causes no bodily sensation.

CT imaging examinations that require the patient to receive iodine contrast injection may cause slight, temporary discomfort while the intravenous needle is placed. For younger patients, topical anaesthetic cream can be offered prior to the insertion of the IV Cannula. Please present 45-60 minutes before to your appointment to allow the cream time to work prior to cannulation.

Will I need an injection of contrast (x-ray dye)?

Not everyone needs an injection of contrast for their exam. The injection is given when the radiologist determines that it is necessary. The decision to use contrast is based on the patient's history, the specific clinical questions to be answered and the type of study to be performed.

Patients can, but not always, experience a few sensations following the injection of contrast. These include a metallic-type taste in the mouth, a warm flush throughout the body and/or possibly the sensation of wetting ones pants. You do not actually wet yourself, just feels like it. These sensations go away after about 20 seconds.

How Long Will the CT Examination Take?

The WCH CT department offers a wide range of Computed Tomography (CT) imaging examinations. Depending on the type of exam you will receive, the length of the actual procedure will typically be between 10 minutes and 30 minutes. A few involved CT examinations take longer than 45 minutes.

Also, many CT exams require the patient to hold their breath several times. This helps to eliminate blurring from the images, which can be caused by breathing or other patient motion. Please discuss specific questions about the duration of your CT imaging examination with the Radiographer before your exam.

Can my family come into the CT Scan Room with Me?

Yes, but typically only one. If needed, holding hands is encouraged. CT uses x-rays so support persons should be limited. Should a supporting parent/guardian be required, they will need to wear a lead gown. Pregnant parents are discouraged from remaining in the scan room during the examination.


Information sheets for CT studies and general anaesthesia are available from SAMI at the WCH – Phone (08) 8161 6639.

If your child has been referred by his or her Doctor to have a CT scan, you may have questions about the use of radiation. The Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Health Care provide information about your child and CT scans. To find out more ask for the brochure 'what you need to know about CT scans for children', or go to:

At SAMI we also subscribe to the Image Gently Alliance – for more information, please go to:



Appointments: (08) 8161 6055
Enquiries: (08) 8161 6639


(08) 8161 6333


Dr Rebecca Linke
Campus Clinical Head
South Australia Medical Imaging
Phone (08) 8161 7731

Mr Scott Brown
Head of Modality – CT
Phone (08) 8161 6639