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Computed Tomography

Abdomen Pelvis Scan 

What is a CT Scan of the Abdomen/Pelvis?  A CT Scan is sometimes referred to as a CAT Scan which is a noninvasive medical test to diagnose medical conditions.  A CT Scan combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple cross sectional images of the inside of the body.   These cross-sectional images of the area being scanned are examined on a computer monitor and can be transferred to a CD.

A CT scan of the Abdomen and Pelvis can visualize internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels to provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exam.

How do I prepare for this Test? Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for your exam. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for your comfort.  You must not eat or drink anything for 2 hours prior to your exam.  If necessary, you may take your daily medications with a small amount of water.   You will be asked arrive 1 hour prior to you scheduled scan to drink an oral contrast in the Radiology Department in preparation for your CT. You may use the bathroom during exam prep time. Please bring a list of your current medications and allergies.  If necessary, we will make a copy for your exam records.  Please report to the Outpatient Registration Department 1 hour prior to your scheduled exam time. Outpatient Registration and Radiology Departments are located on the first floor of Beverly Hospital, Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers and Addison Gilbert Hospital. The technologist will greet you in the Radiology Department and escort you to the exam room. 

What to Expect During the Abdomen/Pelvis CT?  You may be asked to fill out paperwork which the Technologist will review with you. The decision to administer IV contrast will be made by your ordering MD and/or our Radiologist. The technologist will position you on the table, usually lying on your back.  If you are receiving the intravenous (IV) contrast, an IV line will be placed in a vein in your arm. You will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted. When  the IV contrast is administered, you may have a warm, flushed sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. You may also experience a sensation  like you have to urinate but this subsides quickly. The table will move you through the scanner and tell you to hold your breath.  The first images are  to determine the correct starting and ending position for your scan.  The table will then move slowly through the scanner when the actual CT scanning is being performed. The scanner will tell you to hold your breath during the scanning process to eliminate motion artifacts on the images. You will be alone in the exam room when the CT scan is being performed unless there are special circumstances. However, the technologist will always be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times.

Testing Time:  The entire examination is usually completed within 15 minutes.

Risk of the Test:  Be sure to notify the technologist if there is any chance you may be pregnant or allergic to IV contrast.

Following the Test:  You will be instructed to drink plenty of fluids to flush out the IV contrast.   If you take a regular dose of Glucophage (Metformin), you MUST discontinue taking it for 48 hours following your exam. It is necessary to have a blood test to determine that your kidneys are functioning properly BEFORE you resume your Glucophage.  We will fax your ordering physician the paperwork to inform them of your need for the blood test.   You will also receive paperwork from the technologist reminding you of this.  The oral contrast material given for Abdomen/Pelvis exam may cause loose stools for a couple of hours after the exam.  There are no other restrictions following the test. 

Results of the test:  Your ordering physician will receive the results in 24-48 hours.  It is important to discuss the results of the exam with your doctor.