CT of the abdomen and pelvis is a special type of imaging performed with intravenous contrast material after the ingestion of oral barium. Images are generated and can be viewed on a computer monitor and burned on a CD. The weight limit for most scanners is 350 pounds.
Preparing for the Abdominal and Pelvic CT Scan
Do not eat or drink anything for four hours before the procedure. Please inform your doctor if you are:
- Allergic to iodine (Premedication with prednisone and Benadryl is required.)
- Diabetic, have kidney disease or are over age 60 (Lab work for kidney function is required within 30 days of test.)
- Possibly pregnant (Pregnancy test required.)
What Happens before the Abdominal and Pelvic CT scan?
Please arrive 15 minutes before test time. Please bring your insurance card. If you have any prior images of the abdomen or pelvis on a CD, please bring it with you so that it can be compared with the new study.
Prior to the procedure you will be asked to drink two bottles of barium. The total amount of fluid will be approximately 1 to 1.5 liters. You may have to use the restroom once you start drinking. You must drink the contrast material over a period of two hours.
What Happens during the Abdominal and Pelvic CT scan?
You may be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. Any motion, even breathing, can lead to artifacts on the images. Loss of image quality can resemble the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object. Though the scanning itself causes no pain, it may be somewhat uncomfortable to have to lie still for several minutes.
When the intravenous line is placed you will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into the vein. You will likely have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast materials and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for at most a minute or two. You may experience the feeling that you have to urinate; however, this is actually the contrast effect and subsides quickly. The abdominal and pelvic CT scan with contrast takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
What Happens after the Abdominal and Pelvic CT Scan?
You will be able to return to normal activities following the CT scan. It is recommended that you drink plenty of water to help flush the contrast material from your body.
A radiologist will analyze your images and send a signed report to your referring physician. Typically your doctor will notify you of results within a week.
What Are the Possible Outcomes?
An abdominal and pelvic CT scan can diagnose obstructions, kidney stones, hernias, masses, tumors, infections, aneurysms and many other problems. Typically your doctor will notify you of the exam results within a week.