Risks of an abdominal CT scan include the following:
- Allergic reaction. You may develop a skin rash or itchiness if you're allergic to the oral contrast.
- Birth defects.
- Slightly increased risk of cancer.
What is a CAT scan used to diagnose?
A computerized tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan images provide more-detailed information than plain X-rays do.
Can CT scans cause headaches? Some people are sensitive to the dye that is sometimes used with a CT scan procedure. If dye was used during the procedure, your headache and nausea could be from that. If your headaches or nausea continue to bother you or get any worse, please follow up with your doctor for evaluation.
You shouldn't experience any after-effects from a CT scan and can usually go home soon afterwards. You can eat and drink, go to work and drive as normal. If a contrast was used, you may be advised to wait in the hospital for up to an hour to make sure you don't have a reaction to it.
Your Doctor has scheduled you for a CT scan of your Abdominal and Pelvic structures, which requires drinking "Readi-Cat II" (barium sulfate contrast) and the possibility of an injection of IV contrast material just prior to the exam. Have nothing to eat or drink four (4) hours prior to your exam except as stated above.
Range of Costs. In general, you can expect to see CT scan costs that range from $270 on the very low end to nearly $5,000 on the high end. The cost varies depends on the facility, your location, and factors such as whether you pay in cash or bill your insurance provider.
The most commonly performed CT scan is of the brain - to determine the cause of a stroke, or to assess serious head injuries. Other uses of a CT scan include: To detect abnormalities in the body, such as tumours, abscesses, abnormal blood vessels, etc, when they are suspected by symptoms or other tests.
Preparing for a CT scan. Usually, you will be asked to not eat for two hours before your appointment time and to drink 500ml of water (tea or coffee is fine) during this time. The water hydrates you prior to having contrast media for the CT. The water also helps fill your bladder so that it shows on the scan.
The delayed side effects were divided into three main categories: skin, gastrointestinal, and general reactions. Skin effects included itching, rash, and hives. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea were the gastrointestinal side effects, and general side effects included headache, dizziness, and fever.
CT scans are very good at showing bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels (Fig. 1). While an MRI takes excellent pictures of soft tissue and blood vessels, a CT scan shows bone much better, so it's often used to image the spine and skull.
CT, or CAT scans, are special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and a computer. CT scans are also referred to as computerized axial tomography. CT scanners have vastly improved patient comfort because a scan can be done quickly.
CT scans show a slice, or cross-section, of the body. The image shows your bones, organs, and soft tissues more clearly than standard x-rays. CT scans can show a tumor's shape, size, and location. They can even show the blood vessels that feed the tumor – all without having to cut into the patient.
Like X-rays and PET scans, CT scans use ionizing radiation, which can damage DNA and cause cancer. Two other imaging technologies, MRI scans and ultrasound, do not use radiation. In most cases it is impossible to definitively attribute cancer to radiation exposure that occurred years or even decades earlier.
CT scans are also used in the chest to identify tumors, cysts, or infections that may be suspected on a chest X-ray. CT scans in this area are used to verify the presence or absence of tumors, infection, abnormal anatomy, or changes of the body caused by trauma.
Standard x-ray procedures, such as routine chest x-rays and mammography, use relatively low levels of ionizing radiation. The radiation exposure from CT is higher than that from standard x-ray procedures, but the increase in cancer risk from one CT scan is still small.
You may be told to hold your breath for short periods of time. In many cases, an abdominal CT is done with a pelvis CT. The scan should take less than 30 minutes.
At the start of the test, you drink barium, a liquid that looks like a milk shake but does not taste nearly as good (most patients say it tastes like chalk). You might also be asked to swallow some tablets that "fizz," causing air-bubbles to be released in your stomach.
You may drink clear liquids (black coffee/tea, broth, water, or juice) prior to your CT scan. If your exam includes the administration of intravenous (IV) contrast medium, do not drink anything within four hours of your exam (except for small sips of water with your medications.)
Radiation risk 101. CT scans can expose you to as much radiation as 200 chest X-rays. CT emits a powerful dose of radiation, in some cases equivalent to about 200 chest X-rays, or the amount most people would be exposed to from natural sources over seven years.
Computed tomography, more commonly known as a CT or CAT scan, is a diagnostic medical test that, like traditional x-rays, produces multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.
IV contrast is usually excreted by the kidneys within the next 24 hours (assuming normal renal function). Oral contrast is usually excreted within a day or two, but in people with constipation it may not completely clear out for several days. There is no radiation in contrast used for CT.
Radiocontrast agents are substances used to enhance the visibility of internal structures in X-ray-based imaging techniques such as computed tomography (contrast CT), projectional radiography, and fluoroscopy. Radiocontrast agents are typically iodine, barium-sulphate or gadolinium based compounds.