Post By
Gateway Diagnostic Imaging

February 28, 2024

Why did my doctor recommend a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis?

It’s very concerning when you experience pain or other issues in your abdomen or pelvic area.

Your doctor may recommend a CT (computerized tomography) scan of the abdomen and pelvis to investigate issues such as abdominal pain, or to examine some of your other organs like the liver, kidneys, or intestines. 

CT scans help provide extremely detailed images which aid in the diagnostic process. We’ll take a closer look at what you can expect from a CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis.

Introduction to abdomen and pelvis CT scans

Abdomen and pelvis CT scans are imaging tests that provide detailed images of the structures in your abdominal and pelvic areas. 

CT scans can help diagnose and monitor many issues like tumors, infections, and other injuries. 

These scans use computer technology to create cross-sectional pictures which give the radiologist a full comprehensive view of organs, blood vessels, and bones in these areas. 

Doctors use these imaging scans to evaluate various conditions and plan appropriate treatments.

 What is a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis?

A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis area of your body uses sophisticated computerized technology to give doctors detailed views of those areas of your body. 

From a CT scan, the technologist or radiologist can view cross-sectional pictures of the abdomen and pelvis, thus helping them diagnose and evaluate any health issues in those areas of your body.

Why is the abdomen and pelvis area important to examine with a CT scan?

A lot is going on in the abdomen and pelvis areas of the human body. There are many organs in these areas, like the stomach, liver, gallbladder, tail of the pancreas, spleen, intestines, and others. 

There are a lot of organs in the abdomen and pelvic area, so it is important to examine this area with a CT scan which can give a comprehensive overview of these vital organs for the technologist to examine.

Why your doctor may have recommended an abdomen and pelvis CT scan.

Because the abdomen and pelvic area of the body contain organs so vital to human health, your doctor may recommend an abdominal and pelvic CT scan to help them diagnose any issues, some of which may be interrelated.

What symptoms or conditions might warrant a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis?

CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis are often performed when a patient has symptoms such as abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, suspected tumors, kidney problems, gastrointestinal issues, and inflammatory conditions. 

Your doctor will determine the need for a CT scan based on your specific symptoms and medical history.

How can a CT scan assist in diagnosing abdominal or pelvic issues? 

Because CT scans offer extremely detailed images of the abdominal and pelvic areas––including organs, blood vessels, and tissues––this level of detail is of great assistance in the identification of the sources of pain, such as abnormalities, masses, or structural issues with internal organs.

In what scenarios is a CT scan preferable to other imaging methods for the abdomen and pelvis?

CT scans are often preferred for the abdomen and pelvic area because CT scans of the abdomen can provide more detailed information about abdominal organs and structures than standard X-rays of the abdomen. 

A CT scan of the abdomen may also be used to visualize the placement of needles during biopsies of abdominal organs or tumors or during aspiration (withdrawal) of fluid from the abdomen. 

They’re also useful in monitoring tumors and other conditions of the abdomen, before and after treatment. 

The choice of imaging scans depends, however, on the specific medical situation and the patient’s medical history.

Preparing for your CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis

A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis is a non-invasive, computerized study of those areas of the body. 

There is no reason to stress about the scan and the scan usually requires only a few minutes to perform, but there are some things to know before your scan, just to help you prepare.

How do you get ready for a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis?

Make sure to take off any jewelry, and wear loose-fitting clothing.

If your doctor ordered a CT scan without IV contrast, you can eat, drink, and take your prescribed medications before your exam. 

However, if your doctor ordered a CT scan with IV contrast, do not eat anything three to four hours prior to your CT scan. You are encouraged to drink clear liquids. 

What can you expect during an abdomen and pelvis CT scan?

During an abdomen and pelvis CT scan, you’ll lie on a table that moves into the scanner. The machine takes detailed images, creating cross-sectional images of your abdomen and pelvis. 

It’s a painless study, but you may need to hold your breath briefly. If you have concerns, it’s best to consult with your doctor.

Understanding your CT results

Many times, terminology about medical results can be very confusing, which is why you should ask your doctor to help you understand your CT results. 

How are the results of an abdomen and pelvis CT scan interpreted?

The interpretation of abdomen and pelvis scans typically involves analyzing images for any abnormalities or conditions. A technologist reviews the scans to assess organs, tissues, and structures. 

An abdominal and pelvic CT scan can be interpreted in many ways with many outcomes. It’s very important to consult with a healthcare professional for accurate and personalized information about your specific scan results.

What happens if your CT scan results show something concerning?

If your CT scan results appear to show something you should be concerned about, your doctor will interpret the issue for you and discuss with you any next steps, such as possible medication, future medical actions, or other treatments.

What are some questions you should ask your doctor about your CT results?

When reviewing your CT results, here are some questions you might ask your doctor:

  • Can you explain the results in a way that is easy to understand?
  • What does the CT scan show about my condition?
  • Is there anything I should be concerned about?
  • What is causing the problem?
  • What are the next steps or additional tests?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Do I need to make any lifestyle changes?
  • How frequently should I follow up with you?

How to schedule your CT scan with us

When you get your scan at one of our imaging centers, we’ll make sure you have access to affordable, high-quality medical imaging from specialized radiologists and certified technologists. 

Reach out to a Gateway imaging center near you, and schedule your CT appointment, today.

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