Print    Email
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
  
CT Scan

CT Scan

A computerized tomography scan, also called a CT or CAT scan, is a type of X-ray that makes detailed images of internal organs.

The radiology department at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital offers a variety of scans:

  • Body imaging (chest, abdomen, pelvis)
  • Cardiac imaging (coronary CTA)
  • CT angiography (special views that allow the doctor to see the blood vessels in great detail)
  • CT-guided biopsies and abscess drainages
  • Musculoskeletal imaging (detailed views of bones and joints)
  • Neuro-imaging (brain, facial, spine)

Preparing for Your Child's CT Scan

Following are a few helpful tips to help you prepare for your child's CT scan:

  • Talk to your child honestly about the exam. Provide simple details about what will happen and what he or she needs to do.
  • Watch a cartoon about CT scans.
  • Practice the exam at home. Another idea is to play freeze tag before coming in for the exam. This will help your child understand what it means to hold still.
  • Show your child pictures of the scanner to familiarize him or her with it. There are also pictures of other children getting a CT scan.
  • Dress your child comfortably in clothes that are easily removed such as sweat clothes and a T-shirt. Your child may be given a gown to wear during the exam.
  • Bring special toys or books to help your child relax during the exam.
  • Parents are allowed to accompany children into the exam room.  Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant will be asked to leave the room during the exam. Make sure there is someone available to accompany your child during the exam.
  • Siblings and other children are not allowed in the exam room.  Please make other arrangements.

CT Scan Video

Sedation Patients

Children 4 years of age and younger or children with special needs may need sedation for a CT scan. Sedation uses medications to make your child relaxed and sleepy.  If your child is scheduled for sedation:

  • Call 616.391.5466 and choose option #1 to speak with a sedation nurse.
  • The nurse will tell you when your child should stop eating and drinking before the exam.
  • The nurse will also obtain your child's medical history to determine the best type of sedation and ensure that your child is safe during the exam.
  • If your child needs oral contrast for the exam, the nurse will provide specific instructions regarding its administration.

Non-Sedation Patients

The following guidelines are provided if your child does not need sedation. Call 616.391.1759 to speak with a technologist if you have questions about your child’s exam.

Types of CT Scans

How to Prepare

Sinus

No preparation needed.

Head

For IV contrasts, offer your child only clear liquids such as water, apple juice or clear soda up to four hours before the exam. Milk is NOT a clear liquid.

Thorax

Offer your child only clear liquids such as water, apple juice or clear soda up to four hours before the exam. Milk is NOT a clear liquid.

Abdomen/Pelvis

Offer your child only clear liquids such as water, apple juice or clear soda up to four hours before the exam. Milk is NOT a clear liquid. If necessary, your child may be asked to drink a liquid contrast that helps details of the intestines show up during the exam.

Learn more about the CT scan.

Watch a KidsHealth® video.

Learn about CT scans in Spanish (en Español).

Questions or Concerns
For questions about your appointment time or scheduling:
Scheduling Department
Phone: 616.391.1810
Toll-free: 877.691.4061

For questions about the CT scan:
Pediatric Radiology Department
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: 616.391.1824

For questions about preparing your child for a CT scan:
Radiology Child Life Specialist
Phone: 616.391.5292