CT of the Abdomen/Pelvis

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A CT scan, or CAT scan, is a common term for computerized tomography, a painless diagnostic imaging test that displays two and three dimensional images of internal structures of the body on a computer screen. This exam is non-invasive and it assists physicians in making medical diagnoses and treat medical conditions.

CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. These cross-sectional images of the area being studied can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or transferred to a CD.

CT scans of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. This allows for more accurate diagnosis.

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
  • Please inform your doctor if you are allergic to contrast
  • You will have to drink a special contrast agent (E-Z Cat), which you can pick up at any of our offices. 1 1/2 hours before your CT scan appointment mix the packet of E-Z Cat Dry with 24 0z (3 cups) of water and shake well. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, shake again, and drink all three cups.
  • Do not eat solid foods 2 hours prior to your exam
  • Take all of your prescribed medications as scheduled
  • Exam is usually completed within 30 minutes
  • Non-invasive
  • Painless
  • Allows for more accurate diagnosis than traditional x-ray


Why is This Exam Done?

This procedure is typically used to help diagnose the cause of abdominal or pelvic pain. It is also used to identify diseases of the internal organs such as:

  • Appendicitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Abscesses
  • Pancreatitis
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Cancers of the colon, liver, kidneys, pancreas and bladder
  • Kidney and bladder stones
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) and other diseases of the vessels such as blood clots
CT scanning of the abdomen/pelvis is also performed to quickly identify injuries to the liver, spleen, kidneys or other internal organs in cases of trauma. It can be a useful tool in surgical planning and to guide biopsies, as well as to assist in properly administering radiation treatment for tumors.

What Will Happen During the Exam?

Prior to the start of the scan, our highly skilled technologist will position you on the CT examination table. You will most likely be lying flat on your back, side or on your stomach. Next, the table will move through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the exam. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the CT scan is performed. You may be asked to hold your breath during the exam. This is to ensure the highest quality images (pictures) possible.

You will be alone in the exam room during the CT exam. However, you will be able to see and hear the technologist at all times and they will be able to see and hear you.

After a CT exam, you can return to your normal activities.

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How Should I Prepare?

Metal objects including jewelry and eyeglasses may affect the CT images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam.

You will have to drink a special contrast agent (E-Z Cat), which you can pick up at any of our offices.1 1/2 hours before your CT scan appointment mix the packet of E-Z Cat Dry with 24 0z (3 cups) of water and shake well. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, shake again, and drink all three cups. You may add powdered flavoring such as Kool-Aid or Crystal Light to make more flavorful if desired. For same day appointments, Jefferson Radiology has premixed oral prep that can be picked up at any of our locations.

Women should always inform their physician and the CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Please inform your doctor and our technologist if you have any known allergies to contrast (dye).


Please dress in comfortable clothing. If you are wearing jewelry or anything else that might interfere with your exam, we will ask you to remove it.


Please take all the medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor. Let our staff know what medications you have taken prior to your exam.

Food and Drink

You should not eat solid foods for two hours prior to your test. You may, however, drink plenty of clear fluids, such as water and broth. You may also drink black decaffeinated coffee or tea.

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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of CT of the Abdomen/Pelvis:

  • Can provide more detailed, accurate results than traditional x-ray
  • Can detect problems/disease earlier
  • Involves minimal risks
  • Painless, noninvasive and accurate
  • Fast and simple
  • Can be performed if you have an implanted medical device, unlike MRI
  • May eliminate the need for exploratory surgery or biopsy

Risks you should be aware of:

  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
  • Inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions. Some conditions may increase the risk of an adverse effect.
  • Women should always inform their physician and the technologist if they are pregnant or may be pregnant.
  • Nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after receiving contrast before resuming breast-feeding.
  • Allergic reaction to contrast (the risk of serious allergic reaction is rare and our team is well-prepared to deal with such reactions should the need arise)
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

CT of the abdomen/pelvis is performed at the locations:

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