CT Scan of the Abdomen Overview
A CT scan is a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body. In this case, images of the abdomen are taken.
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The CT images will be sent to a radiologist who will analyze them. Your doctor will receive the results and discuss them with you.
What to Expect
#Prior to Test
Your doctor may instruct you to:
- Avoid eating or drinking anything for four hours before the test if contrast will be used.
- Remove any metal objects (eg, jewelry, hearing aids, dentures).
#Description of the Test
In some cases, contrast is needed. It helps make certain organs and tissue more visible on the images. It is sometimes given by mouth in a drink. Other times, it will be injected into a vein.
You will be positioned on a special moving table. The table will advance slowly through the CT scanner. You will need to be still during the entire test. As the scanner takes pictures, you will hear humming and clicking. To get a clear picture, the technician will ask you to hold your breath at certain points. You will be able to talk to the technician via an intercom.
If you had contrast, you may be told to drink extra fluid. This will flush the contrast from your body.
#How Long Will It Take?
About 10-60 minutes
#Will It Hurt?
You may feel flushed if you received contrast. You may notice a salty or metallic taste in your mouth. You may also feel nauseous.
American Cancer Society
Radiological Society of North America
Canadian Association of Radiologists
Canadian Radiation Protection Association
CT-scan. Mayo Clinic website. Available at:
. Accessed October 15, 2007.
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Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to Medical Tests. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin; 1997.