Before the scan

  • After changing into a hospital gown, your child and you will meet the imaging technologist (person who takes pictures with imaging machines), who will take you to the CT scan room.
  • The CT scanner is a large camera with a narrow table that will slide in and out of a doughnut-shaped hole fitted around the table. Your child will be gently placed on this table. The table inside the machine can slowly move up and down or back forth to take pictures.
  • Explain to your child that the scanner will not touch their body. It will make a quiet swooshing sound.
  • Your child may need contrast (dye) that allows the images to be clearer. A nurse will let you know whether your child needs contrast during the confirmation phone call. There are different types of contrasts. The contrast can be given through an IV and/or by drinking an oral contrast.

During the scan

  • A family member is usually allowed to stay with your child during the scan to help them feel more relaxed and comfortable*. If you cannot stay in the room, the care team will reassure your child that you are watching and you can hear them if they need anything.

*People who are pregnant will not be allowed in the CT scan room. (Please note: Other children will not be allowed).

What you can do to help your child

  • Tell your child that it is important to hold still.
  • Praise your child during and after the procedure.


If you have any questions, please call the Pediatric Imaging nurses at 617-724-4124 or visit Pediatric Imaging.

Rev. 5/2022. MassGeneral for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treat any medical conditions.