Tests and investigations

You may have a number of tests and investigations while we are caring for you. Many involve a short appointment with a specialist and you have most of them during an outpatient visit. You may have a range of tests and investigations at the same appointment.

They help us to:

  • diagnose your condition
  • work out how severe it is
  • decide which treatment or type of care programme is best for you
  • find out how well your treatment is working.

Blood tests (phlebotomy)

They involve taking samples of your blood which are then checked in a laboratory. You do not need to prepare for them.

CT scan

CT is short for computerised tomography. It is also known as a CAT (computer-axial tomography) scan. It uses x-rays to take a series of detailed pictures of the soft tissues inside of your body. A computer then builds these into a three-dimensional image. You do not usually have to prepare for a CT scan.

MRI scan

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to take very detailed pictures from almost every angle to produce two and three-dimensional images of the inside of your body. An MRI scan is painless and harmless. You may need to prepare for a MRI scan – your appointment letter will explain what to do.

Ultrasound scan

This uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of a part of the inside of your body. You do not need to prepare for an ultrasound scan.

DEXA scan

A DEXA scan uses a type of x-ray to measure the density of your bones. It is also know as a bone density or densitometry scan. You do not need to prepare for this type of scan.