Overview & Description
Computed tomography, also called CT, is a computer-aided X-raytechnique. An abdominal CT scan produces detailed cross-sectionalviews of sections of the abdomen. This could be thought of as similar totaking pictures of slices of bread to see the different parts of the loaf.
Who is a candidate for the test?
An abdominal CT scan is recommended for people whohave suspected diseases or conditions of the abdomen. A doctor mayadvise a person to have this test if he or she has one of the followingconditions:
How is the test performed?
A person having a CT scan will need to undress and puton an exam gown. Next, he or she will lie on a narrow table. The tablewill slide through a machine that looks like a doughnut. This is calledthe gantry. While the person is in the gantry, an X-ray tube takes pictures of different partsof the person’s abdomen to create computer-generated X-ray images.
Some types of CT exams require the person to receive aniodinated dye, which makes some tissues show up better. The dye, alsocalled contrast solution, may be injected into the person’s vein ormay be given as a drink. Each X-ray emits a very lowdose of radiation and takes only seconds. The whole test lastsabout 45 minutes.
After the exam, a technician will view thepictures to make sure they can be seen clearly. If they are OK,the person can usually get dressed and is free to leave.
Preparation & Expectations
What is involved in preparation for the test?
People will be asked about allergies to iodine, which is inthe dye. Women will also be asked if they may be pregnant.All jewelry and metal objects must be removed to avoid interferingwith the images. This exam can cause claustrophobia, which is theuncomfortable feeling you may have from being in a small place.A claustrophobic person may require a sedative before the exam.X-ray department staff will tell the person if other preparations are needed.
Results and Values
What do the test results mean?
A CT scan provides a direct image of soft tissue structuressuch as the liver, lung, spleen, pancreas, lymph nodes, and fatty tissues.CT is also good for identifying and tracking large abnormalities suchas tumors. The pictures can reveal many different diseases andconditions. Examples include cancer, organ damage, abnormalblood vessels, infections, kidney stones,and bleeding. The doctor will discuss the results of the exam with the person.
Article type: xmedgeneral