Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body
How It Feels
The test will not cause pain.
The table you lie on may feel hard, and the room may be cool. It may be hard to
lie still during the test.
Some people feel nervous inside the CT
If a medicine to help you relax (sedative) or
dye (contrast material) is used, an IV is usually put in
your hand or arm. You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is started.
The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and give you a metallic taste in
your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomachs or get a headache. Tell the
technologist or your doctor how you are feeling.
The chance of a CT scan causing a problem is
- There is a chance of an
allergic reaction to the dye (contrast material).
- If you have diabetes or take metformin
(Glucophage), the dye may cause problems. Your doctor will tell you when to
stop taking metformin and when to start taking it again after the test so you
will not have problems.
- There is a small chance of developing
cancer from having some types of CT
scans.1 The chance is
higher in children, young adults, and people who have many
radiation tests. If you are concerned about this risk, talk to your doctor
about the amount of radiation this test may give you or your child and confirm
that the test is needed.
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses
X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside the body.
results usually are ready for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.
The organs and blood vessels are normal in
size, shape, and location. No blood vessels are blocked.
No foreign objects (such as metal or glass
fragments), growths (such as cancer), inflammation, or infection are
No bleeding or collections of fluid are
An organ is too large or too small,
damaged, or infected.
abscesses are present.
Foreign objects (such as metal or glass
fragments) are present.
gallstones are present.
Growths (such as tumors) are seen in the
adrenal gland, or
A CT scan of the chest shows a
pulmonary embolism, fluid in the lungs, or
aneurysm is present.
Blockage is found in the intestines or in
A CT of the belly shows
inflammatory bowel disease or
Lymph nodes are
One or more blood vessels are
A growth, fracture, infection, or other
problem is found in an arm or leg.
What Affects the Test
The following may stop you from
having the test or may change the test results:
- Pregnancy. CT scans are not usually done during
- Barium and bismuth used for another test. These
substances show up on a CT scan. If a CT scan of the belly is needed, it should
be done before any tests that use barium, such as a
- Metal objects in the body. These items, such
as surgical clips or metal in joint replacements, may prevent a clear view of
the body area.
- You are not able to lie
still during the test.