CT Contrast

Computed tomography (CT) is an advanced imaging system that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce comprehensive images of specific areas of your body, including your bones, chest, head, joints, lungs, and spine. CT scans give a much more detailed picture than regular X-rays and can identify many conditions that may escape detection on other imaging tests.

CT is often ordered when more detail is needed based on results of other studies, when the cause of symptoms is unclear during a physical exam or when an asymptomatic patient has increased risk of certain disease. CT scans can be performed on any part of the body. Low-dose studies are used to screen for certain diseases, such as lung cancer, colon cancer and heart disease.

For some exams, an injectable dye called contrast is administered intravenously to highlight a specific area of interest, or directly into a joint (arthrogram). Targeted body areas will absorb the contrast dye, and will glow on the CT scan, allowing for a more detailed image. There is a risk of allergic reaction to the contrast agent, so you will be asked about your allergies and other medical conditions when booking your exam. Please note that, contrast is an additional cost of $125.

In Calgary, CT exams are provided at our Mayfair Place location as private pay exams and are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Prices are per body area. If multiple body areas are scheduled within the same appointment, discounts apply. For example, the abdomen is one body area, while the spine is divided into three body areas. We also offer Health Assessment packages.

We offer a 10% Seniors discount (65+) that can be applied to the total CT exam.

Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private CT that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.

Please note that if contrast is needed, it’s an additional cost of $125.

For information on how to prepare, what happens during your exam, etc., please click on the applicable body area:

For Your Appointment

Please ensure that you bring your requisition with to your appointment.

Questions?

Duration

Exam: 15-25 minutes
Appt: 15 min.-2 hrs (depending on area)

Location

Pricing

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need a doctor's referral?

Yes, all diagnostic and preventative screening CT exams (including those part of Mayfair's Health Assessment packages) require a referral from your health care provider. You can download a referral form on our website.

Is a preventative screening CT scan right for me?

Most physicians endorse routine screening beginning at age 50. For patients with one or more risk factors: a family history of colon cancer or heart disease; a history of diabetes; high cholesterol or high blood pressure; an inactive lifestyle; weight problems; or concerns about abdominal disease, pelvic disease or osteoporosis, screening should begin earlier (usually at age 40).

Are there size or weight restrictions?

Mayfair's wide-bore CT scanners offer a more comfortable imaging experience, especially for larger patients or those who are prone to anxiety in tight spaces. Feet first scanning capacity, flexible design configurations, and padding provide optimal patient comfort. If you're nervous about sizing, measure your body at the widest point (usually across your abdomen or from shoulder to shoulder) and if the measurement is less than 70 centimetres, you should fit. If you are claustrophobic, you can come in for a fitting at NO charge to make sure you will be comfortable during the exam. Patients whose weight exceeds 226 kilograms (500 lbs) may be unable to have a CT scan.

What is contrast and why might it be required?

A contrast solution is administered to enhance the images of your tissues and organs. If required, it can be administered intravenously when you arrive for your scan, or you may be instructed to take it orally several hours before your scan. If your test involves a contrast solution, you may need to fast for a few hours before your exam.

Are there any risks?

The exposure to radiation from a CT scan is higher than that of standard X-rays, but the associated risk is still small. For example, the radiation exposure from one low-dose CT scan of the abdomen is similar to the exposure from the earth's natural background radiation over six months. In most cases, the benefits of a CT, such as the early detection of a serious illness, outweigh the small increased risk from radiation exposure. If your CT exam requires intravenous contrast, there is a small risk of allergic reaction to the contrast agent. Diabetes, asthma, heart disease, kidney problems, or thyroid conditions also increase your risk of a reaction to contrast.