Abdominal CT Scan
Alternate Names : Abdominal Computed Tomography, CAT Scan of the Abdomen
Computed tomography, also called CT, is a computer-aided X-ray
technique. An abdominal CT scan produces detailed cross-sectional
views of sections of the abdomen. This could be thought of as similar to
taking pictures of slices of bread to see the different parts of the loaf.
Who is a candidate for the test?
An abdominal CT scan is recommended for people who
have suspected diseases or conditions of the abdomen. A doctor may
advise a person to have this test if he or she has one of the following
for unknown reasons
abnormal findings on X-ray, ultrasound, or other studies of the abdomen
suspected abdominal cancer
suspected liver, kidney, gallbladder, or bowel disease
to make sure an abscess, or pocket of pus, is not present
How is the test performed?
A person having a CT scan will need to undress and put
on an exam gown. Next, he or she will lie on a narrow table. The table
will slide through a machine that looks like a doughnut. This is called
the gantry. While the person is in the gantry, an X-ray tube takes pictures of different parts
of the person's abdomen to create computer-generated X-ray images.
Some types of CT exams require the person to receive an
iodinated dye, which makes some tissues show up better. The dye, also
called contrast solution, may be injected into the person's vein or
may be given as a drink. Each X-ray emits a very low
dose of radiation and takes only seconds. The whole test lasts
about 45 minutes.
After the exam, a technician will view the
pictures to make sure they can be seen clearly. If they are OK,
the person can usually get dressed and is free to leave.