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Computed Tomography General

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, such as lung cancer.


  • Take all prescribed medications as directed.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow enough time to check in with reception.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: If your exam involves oral contrast, you will be asked to arrive 90 minutes prior to your appointment.
  • Bring photo identification and your provincial health card.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Please do not bring children who require supervision.


  • You may be asked to change into scrubs.
  • If your exam involves oral contrast, you will be asked to drink one 500 ml bottle of water, mixed with 10 ml of Visipaque (an oral contrast solution that helps enhance your images) every 30 minutes over the next 90 minutes.
  • After 90 minutes you will be taken to the CT scanner and asked to lie on your back on the bed, which will then be adjusted for correct placement.
  • For IV contrast, your technologist will set up an intravenous (IV) line for the contrast solution. Please note that IV contrast is an additional cost of $125.
  • Your technologist will leave the room to begin your exam, but you will be in direct communication throughout your procedure.
  • These CT scans are painless. You won’t feel a thing.
  • On a few occasions, you may be asked to hold your breath (for 10-15 seconds) to help obtain specific images.
  • Once we have the correct number of good-quality images, your technologist will help you off the bed and guide you back to your change room. You are then free to leave.


We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor in a timely manner.


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 additional 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.


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


25 minutes

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. Screening should begin earlier (usually at age 40) 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, etc.
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. Please note that IV contrast is an additional cost of $125.
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.