CT Scan


A CT (computed tomography) examination is a fast, painless and non-invasive scan used to assess your organs, blood vessels, abdomen and bones. A CT scan provides valuable information about the location, nature and extent of many different diseases or abnormalities.


A CT, or computed tomography, is best for evaluating:

  • Bones
  • Lungs
  • Intra-Abdominal Organs
  • Brain
  • Angiography
  • Bowel 


Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to help:

  • Detect and monitor disease such as cancer, heart disease, lung nodules and liver masses
  • Identify muscle and bone disorders
  • Find the location of a tumour, infection or blood clot
  • Plan for surgery—and assess the success of a surgery
  • Identify injuries to internal organs

The Taranaki Radiology team are committed to capturing high-quality diagnostic images using the appropriate amount of radiation for you. Whilst you are exposed to radiation during a CT scan, the benefits typically outweigh the long-term risks.  All referrals are reviewed by a Consultant Radiologist prior to being scheduled to ensure we are performing the most appropriate test for your symptoms and clinical history.  If the same or better information can be gained using an MRI or ultrasound (neither of which use radiation) our radiologists will recommend that the alternative be used.

We are highly trained to protect you:

  • Our technologists carefully position you within the scanner to ensure we obtain optimal images of the area of interest.
  • Your unique size and weight are considered when setting up the examination.
  • Our scanners are equipped with advanced technology to minimize your exposure and maintain maximum image quality during the scanning process.
  • Taranaki Radiology is accredited by International Accreditation New Zealand. All our imaging equipment is subject to rigorous quality and safety reviews.

Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.


  • We will give you a call before your appointment to talk through any preparation instructions and your past imaging exams.
  • If your exam requires contrast, we will discuss any special requirements with you.  You will also need to complete the IV Injection of Contrast for a CT Scan Form
  • Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • On the day of your exam, please arrive 10 minutes early for check-in.
  • Once you have arrived and checked in for your scan, you will be led to a changing room and given an examination gown to wear for your scan. You will be given a basket to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
  • The technologist will help position you on the scanner table. Your position and how much of your body will be inside the CT scanner will depend upon the part of your body being scanned.
  • Once you are comfortably positioned, the technologist will go out of the CT scan room to operate the scanner from a computer located directly next to the scanner suite, visible through the viewing window. The technologist will communicate with you throughout the examination and check in with you to see how you are doing.
  • Depending on the part of your body being scanned, CT contrast (a special dye that helps highlight your anatomy) may be needed. Contrast will be administered through an IV line placed in your hand or arm before your examination.
  • When your scan is complete, you will be escorted back to the changing room so you can change back into your clothing.
  • Once you have changed, your appointment is complete.
  • After the exam, your images will be sent electronically to a radiologist who will review the information and send a radiology report to your referrer.
  • You should follow up with your referrer to discuss your results.


What is a CT scan and are they safe?

CT stands for Computed Tomography. A CT Scanner combines a rotating x-ray tube and a computer to produce high-resolution, cross-sectional images of the body.  The images can be compared to a loaf of bread that has been sliced by a bread slicer, where each slice can be taken and examined individually.

At Taranaki Radiology we strive to keep radiation exposure as low as possible and we use special dose-reduction programming on our CT scanner. In addition, all CT scan referrals are reviewed by our radiologists for appropriateness. MRI or Ultrasound will be recommended instead of CT whenever suitable.

What should you consider before you have a test that involves radiation?

It is important to reduce unnecessary use of radiation to minimize exposure. For that reason, patients and their referrers must make the decision to use radiation-based tests on a case-by-case basis and ensure that the benefits of the test justify its use. Some of the factors your referrer will consider before ordering a radiological test are:

  • Is there an alternative type of test that could be ordered instead? If the same or better information can be gained using an MRI or ultrasound (neither of which use radiation) our radiologists will recommend that the alternative be used.
  • Age: The older you are the less of an impact medical radiation has on the cells in your body.
  • Frequency & Dose: Although your body tissues have a great capacity to recover from any damage caused by small amounts of radiation exposure, medical professionals will try to ensure that a patient doesn’t have to have repeat scans or x-rays or numerous radiological exams at close intervals.
Do I need to do anything before my CT scan?

When we contact you to make your appointment we will run throught any preparation instructions you may need to follow.  As a general rule – if your doctor has requested a CT scan without contrast, you can eat and drink as normal prior to your examination.  If your doctor has requested a CT scan with contrast you should not eat anything for two hours prior to your scan.  You are encouraged to drink plenty of clear fluids.

What to expect from a CT scan with contrast (x-ray dye)

Hopefully, your referrer told you ahead of time that you would be getting contrast during your CT exam.  We will of course discuss this with you when we book your appointment and again when you attend for your scan.

Contrast is a medication that you drink but it can also be injected into your vein. The contrast helps highlight things inside your body, especially your gastrointestinal tract, for the pictures taken during your CT scan.

If your referrer has asked for an CT with contrast (or your radiologist recommends one), you will have an IV cannula placed into a vein in your arm before you go into the scan machine. During your exam, the technologist will take some initial scan images and will the give you an injection of contrast through the IV before taking further follow-up images.

When IV contrast is given you may feel an intense warm feeling throughout your body and/or a sensation that you may have wet yourself; be reassured as this sensation passes off very quickly.

Why do I need to drink water after a CT scan with contrast?

If your CT scan involves the need for IV contrast you are encouraged to drink plenty of water for the rest of the day following your CT scan to help flush the contrast out of your body.

Service Location: Fulford Street

Fulford Street

56 Fulford Street, New Plymouth

8am-6pm Monday, 8am-5pm Tuesday – Friday

Phone 06 759 4317 extension 700