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CT (CAT) Scan: Abdomen

What Are CT (CAT) Scans?

A computed tomography scan (CT scan), also called computed axial tomography scan (CAT scan), is a type of imaging test. It uses computers and a rotating X-ray machine to take cross-sectional pictures of the body. CT scans give doctors more detailed images than X-rays can provide. Unlike X-rays, they can show organs, soft tissues, and blood vessels in addition to bones.

CT scans are painless. A CT scan involves more exposure to radiation than a regular X-ray does, but the risk is small.

What Is an Abdominal CT Scan?

An abdominal CT scan uses a special X-ray machine to take pictures of the liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, stomach, intestines, pancreas, and adrenal glands, blood vessels, and lymph nodes .

A person getting a CT scan lies on a table. A pillow and straps hold them in place to prevent movement that would result in a blurry image. The donut-shaped machine circles the body, taking pictures to provide cross-sections of the abdomen from various angles. These pictures are sent to a computer that records the images. It also can put them together to form 3D images.

Why Are Abdominal CT Scans Done?

A doctor may order a CT scan to look for signs of inflammation, infection, injury, or disease. The results can help doctors find the cause of abdominal pain, diagnose an illness, or check the effects of an injury.

What if I Have Questions?

If you have questions about the abdominal CT scan or what the test results mean, talk to your doctor.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date Reviewed: 15-02-2022

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