Abdominal CT or CAT Scan

Because CT imaging is a non-invasive procedure that shows detailed, cross-sectional views of all types of tissue, it is becoming the preferred method for visualizing and diagnosing diseases of the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, bowel and colon. 

Abdominal CT scans are also used to visualize needle placement during biopsies of abdominal organs and tumors or during fluid aspiration from the abdomen.  CT is used to monitor tumors and other conditions of the abdomen before and after treatment, and to detect, diagnose and treat vascular disorders that may lead to stroke, gangrene or kidney failure.  The CT's acute detail and accuracy may eliminate the need for invasive exploratory surgery and surgical biopsy. Please note, CT accuracy may be compromised due to metallic objects in the abdomen, such as surgical clips, barium in the intestines from a recent barium study; and stool and/or gas in the bowel. Please advise the CT technologist if you have clips or have had a recent barium study.

Preparing for an Abdominal CT Scan
Do not eat or drink anything four (4) hours prior to examination. Thirty minutes before exam, drink one bottle of oral CT contrast.  This contrast is available at our Front Desk, or often is given to you by your healthcare provider when the exam is scheduled.

Preparing for an Abdominal/Pelvic CT Scan
If the exam is scheduled before 9 a.m., patients should drink one bottle of oral CT contrast at 9 p.m. the night before the exam.  Eat and drink as usual after taking the oral contrast until midnight.  Do not eat anything after midnight until 30 minutes prior to the exam, when the second bottle of oral CT contrast will be consumed.

If the exam is scheduled after 9 a.m., drink one bottle of oral CT contrast three hours prior to the exam time.  Do not eat anything after the first bottle of oral CT contrast. Thirty minutes prior to the exam, drink a second bottle of oral CT contrast.

If intravenous contrast is needed, it will be administered at the start of the exam. Patients may experience a warm sensation throughout the body after the contrast injection and a metallic taste in the mouth. These sensations typically disappear in a few minutes. If rectal contrast is needed, a small tube will be placed in the rectum and contrast will be infused into the bowel, similar to an enema, at the start of the exam.