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Cost of CT scan in Nigeria

Cost of CT scan in Nigeria. There are certain situations in the medical setting that will require the inside of the body to be viewed. In cases like this, an X-ray is usually employed. X-rays have evolved over the years into better and more computerized ones. One such variant is the CT scan.

Cost of CT scan in Nigeria
Image source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/computed-tomography-ct-or-cat-scan-of-the-brain

What is a CT scan?

A Computerized Tomography (CT) scan produces a cross-sectional image of the body by using computers and rotating X-ray machines. It combines a series of images of the body taken at different angles to produce a clear and more detailed image of soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones inside the body.

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The images produced by a CT scan are clearer and give more detailed information compared to that obtained from a plain X-ray machine. A Ct scan can be used to visualize several parts of the body. Common sites of application include:

  • head
  • chest
  • spine
  • shoulders
  • abdomen
  • heart
  • knee


How is a CT scan done?

A CT scan can be carried out in under 30 minutes. The process is usually painless. Before the CT scan and depending on the part of your body that will be scanned, you may be required to remove some or all of your clothing and then change into a hospital gown.

As a necessary precaution, you will be required to remove all metallic objects such as jewelry, belt, dentures, and glasses. This is because metallic objects interfere with the X-ray image results. You may also be advised by the doctor to refrain from eating or drinking for a couple of hours before the scan.

If an infant or toddler is getting the scan, the doctor may sedate the child to restrain movement and calm him or her. This is because movement during the scan will result in a blurry image which will ultimately give an inaccurate result.

Some CT scans require the use of a special dye called Contrast material. This contrast dye helps to highlight the areas of the body being examined by blocking the X-rays, thus appearing as white on the obtained images. This highlighting action helps to make blood vessels, intestines, and other body structures to be visible.

Contrast materials can be administered in 3 major ways. These are:

  • Orally: you may be required to swallow a liquid that contains the contrast material if your esophagus or stomach is to be scanned. The swallowed liquid may have an unpleasant taste.
  • Intravenously: if the gallbladder, urinary tract, liver, or blood vessels are to be scanned, you may be injected with the contrast material in the arm. You may experience an unusual metallic taste in your mouth or a warm feeling during the injection.
  • Rectally: contrast material can be administered rectally by insertion into the rectum. This helps to give clear images of the intestines. Just like other means of administration, rectal administration will make you feel bloated and a bit uncomfortable.

A CT Scanner looks just like a big doughnut with a hole in the center. It has a narrow and motorized table that slides through the opening into a tunnel. The patient lies down on this table, straps, and pillows may be employed in order to keep the body in position. If a head scan is to be done, a special cradle is fitted to the table in order to hold the head still.

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Once the motorized table slides into the scanner, detectors and X-ray tubes will rotate around the patient with each rotation yielding several images of thin slices of the body. As the machine operates, buzzing and whirring sounds may be heard which could be uncomfortable.

There will be a technologist in another room who can hear and see you. Communication at that point is through the use of intercom. At certain points during the scan, you may be instructed by the technologist or doctor to hold your breath to avoid blurry images.

After the scan, you may be given special instructions especially if you were given contrast material. You may be told to wait for a short period after the scan before going or to drink a lot of fluids to facilitate the excretion of the contrast material by the kidneys.

Why is a CT scan done?

Ct scans are recommended for several reasons. It usually comes in handy in cases of a car accident, falls, traumas, etc. A CT scan can be requested to help your doctor:

  • Diagnose muscle disorders, bone fractures, and infections,
  • Locate the presence as well as ascertain the extent of an internal injury, internal bleeding, or perforations.
  • Pinpoint the location of tumors, blood clots, masses, and foreign objects.
  • Guide procedures such as radiation therapy, surgery, and biopsy.
  • Study the blood vessels as well as to detect and monitor certain disease conditions.
  • Monitor how effective the treatment for cancer and heart disease is.

What is the cost of a CT scan in Nigeria?

The cost of conducting a CT scan varies between N30, 000 to N40, 000. It is cheaper in government-owned hospitals compared to private hospitals or diagnostic centers. The test can be carried out in cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Kaduna, etc.

What is the risk Involved?

Radiation exposure:

The patient gets briefly exposed to ionizing radiation during a CT scan. The amount of radiation a CT scan exposes a patient to is greater than that recorded during a plain X-ray. This is major because the images obtained from a CT scan give more detailed information. Exposure to low doses of radiation during a CT scan has been shown to not cause long-term harm but a much higher dose of such radiation can increase one’s risk of developing cancer.

CT scans regardless of this concern, still enjoy continued patronage. This is because the benefit obtained from the procedure greatly outweighs its small potential risk. Also, doctors are cautious enough to use the lowest possible dose of radiation to obtain the needed scan result.

Aside from that, newer and faster CT scanners that require less radiation have been developed.

Concern for pregnant women

Even though the radiation from the machine is less likely to harm a baby, it is wise and highly recommended to inform the doctor about pregnancy. Your doctor may decide to recommend a safer type of scan or exam, such as MRI or ultrasonography to avoid exposing the baby to ionizing radiation.

In general, no harmful effect has been observed in humans with the low dose of radiation employed in CT scanning.

Allergy to contrast material

Some CT scans require the use of a special dye called Contrast material. This contrast dye helps to highlight the areas of the body being examined by blocking the X-rays, thus appearing as white on the obtained images.

You may be required to swallow the dye or have it administered to you intravenously or through an enema. This can trigger an allergic reaction in patients that are allergic to the dye.


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Patrick Okon

Patrick Okon is a content developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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