Salman Rahat

Detailed Overview About Abdominal CT Scan, Its Uses, Process And Risks

Abdominal CT Scans

A CT scan is also known as a CAT scan. CT stands for computed tomography and CAT for computerised axial tomography. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure used by medical professionals to assess and diagnose various diseases and disorders in different parts of the body.

CT uses ionising radiation to generate images with the help of a computer. The images produced can show the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, etc. An abdominal CT scan is performed when the internal organs of the abdomen are to be examined in case of suspected disease. X-rays are focused on the abdominal region to produce images of the internal organs of the abdomen, such as the stomach, liver, kidney, bladder, uterus, etc. These images help to detect certain diseases, such as kidney stones, cancer, etc.

What Is Contrast In CT Scan?

Sometimes your doctor might order a CT scan with contrast. A contrast is a radioactive dye that is either injected into your veins by the IV method or given as an oral preparation to drink. The contrast medium gets absorbed into your body parts.

The cells that have a higher metabolic rate tend to absorb more radioactive dye, which in turn helps them to be represented on the CT scan image in a more defined fashion. Therefore, a contrast medium helps to produce a more defined image than a non-contrast medium computer tomography (NCCT).

These images show abnormal functioning  of the body, thereby helping the diagnosis. A contrast medium can be iodine-based. Some people can develop an allergic reaction to the contrast medium, which is less likely but if it happens, it is manageable.

Why Is an abdominal CT Scan Performed?

An abdominal CT represents abdominal organs in its scan image, which may help diagnose and investigate any health-related problems.

  • To look for the cause of blood coming from urine.
  • Diagnose hernia.
  • To detect tumours or diagnose cancers.
  • Any infection or injury to the bowel can be detected.
  • It may be ordered if an abnormal blood test report came out to be inconclusive.
  • To  detect the cause of unexplained pyrexia/fever.
  • To know the cause of pain and swelling.
  • To diagnose kidney stones or appendicitis.

What Does Abnormal CT Result Mean?

  • Cancer

The  Abdominal CT can show cancer such as

  • Cancer of melanocytes- melanoma
  • Cancer of colon
  • Renal pelvis or ureter cancer
  • Ovaries cancer
  • liver/hepatocellular cancer
  • renal/kidney cancer
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Cancer of pancreas.
  • Problems with gallbladder, liver or pancreas

  • Blockage in bile ducts
  • Gallstones-cholelithiasis
  • Liver cirrhosis or alcoholic liver disease
  • Pancreatic pseudocyst
  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Infection of pancreas- pancreatitis
  • Pseudocyst or abscess of pancreas
  • Kidney problems

  • Kidney blockage
  • Swelling in kidney due to urine backflow- hydronephrosis
  • Infection of kidney
  • Stones in kidney
  • Damage to kidney or ureter
  • Polycystic kidney disease

What Are the Risks of an Abdominal CT Scan?

The risks associated with a CT scan are rare because the procedure is conducted under safety guidelines by a trained medical professional. There are certain risks you should be aware of-

Allergic reaction due  to contrast dye- some CT scan might use a contrast medium so as to produce more clear and defined scan images. The contrast can cause certain allergic reactions in some people. Allergic reaction starts by redness and itching, other signs sand symptoms of allergic reaction are-

  • Redness and pain
  • Swelling and itching 
  • Dizziness or tiredness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Headache or lightheadedness
  • Difficulty breathing etc.
  • Hives
  • sneezing

You should inform your doctor as soon as you face the first sign of allergy because sometimes it can lead into a fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock.

Exposure to radiations- the CT scan procedure uses ionised x-ray radiations. The radiation can cause slight DNA damage. The DNA damage can lead into carcinogenic activity of cells, leading into cancer. Although the risk of developing cancer is very low. Multiple short term radiation based scans increase the chance of developing cancer. You should avoid getting radiation based scan in some other conditions such as-

  • If you have had a very recent surgery in the area being scanned
  • If you are pregnant
  • if you are breastfeeding or chestfeeding
  • If you are getting scan only out of curiosity 
  • If you have kidney failure already 
  • If you have certain conditions like diabetes 

Damage to the kidney and its functioning due to contrast dye- If you already have kidney failure or other kidney diseases, you should avoid getting a CT scan because it might lead to further kidney complications. If you are diabetic you should inform your doctor beforehand so he can guide you for your medication routine. 


We often spend more time thinking than taking any action. Sometimes it can prove dangerous to your life. When it comes to health, one should not delay. Get your diagnostic centre informed about our scan to be done one day before for convenient and smooth processing. Search for a diagnostic centre near you and the best diagnostic centre for CT scan

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