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Abdomen CT Scan is a special test used primarily to examine the contents of the peritoneal cavity (abdomen) for evidence of malignancy (cancer), haemorrhage (bleeding), perforation (free air), obstruction, infection and vascular aneurysms.
Medical Conditions and Symptoms
Abdominal CT scan evaluates the organs within the peritoneal cavity or in simple language, an abdominal CT scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the belly area. CT stands for computed tomography. There are many solid and hollow organs in the abdomen which may be affected by malignancy (cancer), infection, perforation and trauma. Organs which could be visualised includes the liver, large bowel, small bowel, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, uterus, bladder, ovaries, and spleen and this scan is not limited to the mentioned internal body parts only.
Abdominal CT may further detect malignant spread, extent of bleeding, evidence of hollow viscus obstruction or infection. It is used to investigate localised and diffuse abdominal pain which may be acute or chronic (long-term) in nature; abdominal or pelvic mass; fever and elevated white count, suspected abscess; trauma and unexplained weight loss.
How the Test is Performed
Abdominal CT scan is performed in the imaging room, with the patient lying flat on a CT table. The head is placed in a comfortable ‘docking pillow’ and the CT scanner gantry (donut) passess over and around the patient to perform the scan. The gantry travels over the patient from the lower ribs to the pelvis to create the scan.
Scans may be performed without contrast (NCCT for renal stone investigation); with oral contrast (examines flow of contrast through the alimentary tract); with dual contrast (oral and intravenous contrast e.g. aortic aneurysm) or with triple contrast (oral, intravenous and rectal contrast e.g. for appendicitis).
Reasons for Test
An Abdomen CT scan is done to study the organs and tissue in your abdomen. A Doctor may look for signs of:
- Other diseases
In case you are showing following symptoms, your doctor may recommend an abdominal CT scan:
- Abdominal pain
- Bowel changes
- Blood in urine or stool
- Urinary difficulties
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- Weight loss
- Unexplained fever
- Abdominal injury
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen
Sometimes a contrast (a dye or chemical) is used to help improve the pictures. Complications with contrast are very rare but some can experience an allergic reaction or kidney problems.
A CT scan does use radiation & may not be advised to a pregnant lady.