What is an Abdomen CT?
An abdomen CT, sometimes referred to as a CAT scan of the abdomen, is a diagnostic exam using high speed x-rays and a computer to produce images or thin cuts or slices through your abdomen. This exam is performed to diagnose many very detailed disorders or injuries within the abdomen. Some of the most common reasons for this exam include trauma from an accident, kidney disease, and to look for cancers.
How is the examination performed?
All you will need to do is lay down on your back and be completely motionless for about 5-15 minutes. This examination may involve an injection of contrast into a vein in your hand or arm. The contrast is used to better visualize the blood flow in the abdomen, thus enhancing certain disorders. The Technologist performing your exam will go over a consent form that requires your signature and he/she will explain the contrast injection in detail. It may also be necessary for you to drink a white contrast for the exam.
Who is a candidate for an Abdomen CT?
Some symptoms may include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain, flank pain, blood in your urine, and a recent diagnosis of cancer.
Will I need to prepare for the exam?
Yes, you will need to pick up your preparation instructions and oral contrast from the Imaging department if your study requires oral contrast. Depending upon your scheduled time, you may have a light breakfast but please do not eat or drink 4 hours prior to your exam.
*If ordered with contrast, a creatinine blood test is required for anyone that:
- Is over 60 years old.
- Is diabetic.
- Has renal insufficiency.
- Has Chronic Heart Failure.
*Please have your lab work done at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled CT scan; preferably within 30 days of your exam.
What will I experience?
You will be asked to lie down on your back on the table. If your exam is going to need contrast the Technologist will start an intravenous (IV) access line in your arm or hand in order to be able to inject the x-ray contrast. If no contrast is needed only one set of images will be acquired, lasting about 5 minutes. If contrast is needed, multiple sets of images will be acquired, lasting about 15 minutes.
What happens next?
If you had an injection, the IV will be removed and you are done. Your images will be analyzed by the Technologist and sent to the Radiologist’s computer for interpretation.
Your images will be interpreted by a State of New Mexico licensed and board certified Physician, Radiologist, that specializes in radiology interpretation. A report will be dictated, transcribed, and faxed to the Physician that ordered your test. Your Physician will receive the report within 24 hours and is responsible for notifying you of the results.