19 Dec CT scan: abdomen
CT scan: abdomen
Alternative Names: Abdominal CT scan
A CT (Computerised Tomography) abdominal scan is used to investigate symptoms, such as pain, swellings, and injuries in the area of the stomach, as well as loss of weight and appetite. Some of these symptoms may be caused by infections (e.g. in the liver or pancreas) or tumours and cancers (e.g. of the kidney, stomach, or ovaries). A CT scanner is a tunnel-like machine in which you lie while it takes X-rays that are turned into detailed images by a computer. A special dye, which contains iodine, may be injected into a vein in your arm to enhance the images; some people are allergic to this dye.
What is it?
Computerised Tomography (CT) is an imaging technique that uses X-ray beams, which are analysed by a computer to produce detailed images.
A CT scan of the abdomen is done in a radiology facility and takes less than an hour to perform.
Why is it done?
There are many indications for performing a CT scan of the abdomen (it is used to look for any structural problems and abnormalities within the abdomen) but some of the more common ones include:
Investigating problems such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal masses or swellings
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
Considering diagnoses such as:
- Infections (e.g. abscesses and cysts of the liver and pancreas)
- Tumours (e.g. lymphomas, stomach cancer, cancer of the kidney, cancer of the ovaries, etc)
Before – how to prepare
You will need to sign a consent form but no other special preparations are needed. Any jewellery, or other metal objects, should be removed. You will be asked to empty your bladder prior to the procedure.
During – how the test is done
You will need to lie within the CT scanner – you lie on a couch with the tunnel-like scanner around you. It is essential that you lie very still while the machine takes a sequence of images, moving fractionally each time. The machine may be quite noisy, and some people feel a little claustrophobic inside the “tunnel” but there is no pain or discomfort involved at all.
A special dye, called contrast media, may be injected into a vein in your arm, to enhance the images.
After the test
The initial results should be available within an hour or so but detailed analysis and interpretation of the images may take longer.
Risks and Compilations
The radiation involved in taking X-rays may, potentially, be harmful, but most experts do not consider this to be a significant problem.
Some people are allergic to the dye/contrast media, which usually contains iodine.
A CT (Computerised Tomography) abdominal scan is used to investigate symptoms, such as pain, swellings, and injuries in the area of the stomach, as well as loss of weight and appetite.
CT scan, abdominal CT scan, CAT scan, cat scan