CT of the Abdomen

CT of the Abdomen and Pelvis

CT scanning is a non-invasive method of diagnosis for symptomatic patients with issues that require a view inside the body. It is a short, painless procedure and emits very low amounts of radiation. The amount of radiation used in CT exams is equivalent to that of standard x-ray procedures.

A CT of the abdomen and pelvis combines x-rays with computer technology to create images of the bone and organ structures of the abdomen and pelvis. CT has the ability to display anatomy one “slice” at a time.

In standard x-rays, dense tissues like bones can block the view of the body parts behind them. In an abdominal/pelvic CT, the various slices clearly show both bone and the underlying soft tissue. CT assists physicians in both diagnosis and detection of a variety of abdominal conditions at an early stage.

When would I get a CT of the Abdomen and Pelvis?

CT of the abdomen and pelvis is typically used to help diagnose the cause of abdominal or pelvic pain and diseases of the internal organs, small bowel and colon. A CT of the abdomen and pelvis may be recommended to diagnose and/or evaluate:

  • infections such as appendicitis, pyelonephritis or infected fluid collection, known as an abscess
  • inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis or liver cirrhosis
  • cancers of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, ovaries and bladder as well as lymphoma
  • kidney and bladder stones
  • abdominal aortic aneurysms
  • injuries to abdominal organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys or other internal organs in cases of trauma.

What Will I Experience?

During a CT of the abdomen and Pelvis, You will lay on a table and it will move through the gantry or ring that is part of the CT scanner. The gantry or ring can tilt and the x-ray scanning devices within it can rotate to obtain the views needed.

For most people, the challenging part of this CT exam is holding your breathe, typically not more than 20 seconds. The technologist will keep you informed as to when to suspend your respiration and when you can breathe.

The total time of the exam will depend upon the type of scan. If oral contrast is required, about 45 to 60 minutes is needed for the contrast to move through your digestive tract. Actual scan times vary from a few seconds to several minutes.

If intravenous contrast is required, the examination will take about 15 to 30 minutes, including the time for intravenous preparation and interview. In some cases, additional scanning is required as scans are tailored to suit individual diagnostic needs.