Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body
Why It Is Done
CT scans are used to study areas of
the body and the arms or legs.
Chest (thorax). A CT scan of the chest can look for
problems with the lungs, the heart, the
esophagus , or the major blood vessel (aorta) or the tissues in the center of the chest.
Some common chest problems a CT scan may find include infection,
lung cancer, a
pulmonary embolism, and an
aneurysm. It also can be used to see if cancer has
spread into the chest from another area of the body.
Abdomen. A CT scan of the abdomen can find
abscesses, infection, tumors, an aneurysm, enlarged
lymph nodes, foreign objects, bleeding in the belly,
inflammatory bowel disease, and
Urinary tract. A CT scan of the kidneys ,
ureters, and bladder is called a CT KUB or CT urogram.
This type of scan can find
kidney stones , bladder stones, or blockage of the
urinary tract . A special type of CT scan, called a CT intravenous
pyelogram (IVP), uses injected dye (contrast material) to look for kidney stones, blockage, growths, infection, or
other diseases of the urinary tract.
Liver. A CT scan can find liver tumors, bleeding
from the liver, and liver diseases. A CT scan of the liver can help determine
the cause of
Pancreas. A CT scan can find a tumor in the
pancreas or inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Gallbladder and bile ducts. A CT scan can be used
to check for blockage of the
Gallstones occasionally show up on a CT scan. But
other tests, such as
ultrasound, usually are used to find problems with the
gallbladder and bile ducts.
Adrenal glands. A CT scan can find tumors or
enlarged adrenal glands.
Spleen. A CT scan can be used to check for an
injury to the
spleen or the size of the spleen.
Pelvis. A CT scan can look for problems of organs
in the pelvis. For a woman, these include the
fallopian tubes. For a man, the pelvic organs include
prostate gland and the
Arm or leg. A CT scan can look for problems of the
arms or legs, including the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle, or
Other uses for a CT scan
CT scan may be used to make sure a procedure is done correctly. For example,
the doctor may use CT to guide a needle during a tissue biopsy or to guide the
proper placement of a needle to drain an
For people with cancer, a CT
scan can help determine how much the cancer has spread. This is called staging
How To Prepare
Before the CT scan, tell your doctor
- Are or might be pregnant.
- Are allergic to any medicines, including iodine
- Have a heart condition, such as
diabetes or take metformin (Glucophage) for your
diabetes. You may have to adjust your medicine for a day before and
after the test.
- Have had kidney
- Have had
- Have had an X-ray test using barium
contrast material (such as a
barium enema) in the past 4 days. Barium shows up
on X-ray films and makes it hard to see the picture clearly.
very nervous in small spaces. You need to lie still inside the CT scanner, so
you may need a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.