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Scan With Contrast

Abdomen or Pelvis CT Scan Image

An Abdomen or Pelvis CT scan utilizes IV contrast to illuminate vessels and organs within the abdominal cavity.

Who performs the procedure?

The procedure is performed by a CT technologist with the assistance of a radiologist.

Where is the procedure performed?

  • University Imaging Center
    University of Maryland Professional Building, Suite 110
    419 West Redwood Street
    Baltimore, Maryland 21201
  • University of Maryland Medical Center
    Department of Diagnostic Radiology
    22 South Greene Street
    Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Are there any preps for this procedure?

Blood work, BUN and creatinine levels have to be drawn within 30 days. You should not eat or drink four hours prior to the procedure. You might be required to drink contrast to enhance the imaging of your digestive organs. If this is required, the patient must arrive 90 minutes ahead of the scheduled time to allow for the drinking of the contrast.

Why is this procedure performed?

A contrast material is commonly injected into a vein to better define the blood vessels, arteries and organs inside your abdomen.

What can I expect for these CTs?

Once you arrive at Radiology, you will have to register at the front desk. Please have your insurance information ready at this time. After registration, you will be escorted to a dressing room to put on a gown if you have any metal on your clothing. The technologist will ask you if you have any allergies, especially to medications or iodine, and whether you have a history of diabetes, asthma, a heart condition, kidney problems or thyroid conditions. These conditions may indicate a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or potential problems eliminating the material from the patient's system after the exam.

You will be lying on the CT table and the technologist will start an IV line so he or she can administer the contrast media. There will be a scan of your abdomen without the contrast media and then the contrast media will be administered through your IV line and the scan will be repeated.

Some people report feeling a flush of heat and sometimes a metallic taste in the back of the mouth. These sensations usually disappear within a minute or two. Some people experience a mild itching sensation. If it persists or is accompanied by hives — small bumps on the skin — the itch can be treated easily with medication. In very rare cases, a patient may become short of breath or experience swelling in the throat or other parts of the body. These can be indications of a more serious reaction to the contrast material that should be treated promptly, so tell the technologist immediately if you experience these symptoms. Fortunately, with the safety of the newest contrast materials, these adverse effects are very rare.

How long is a CT?

The scans are approximately 35 seconds each, but plan on being with us for about 20 minutes.

What can I expect after having a CT?

After the procedure, the results are sent to your doctor and you may resume normal activity. Please drink plenty of clear liquids after the exam.

Are there any risks with this procedure?

There is a very low risk that one may have from the exposure to radiation. CT emits a very low dose of radiation. There is a small chance of having a reaction to the contrast.

Are there any alternatives to this procedure?

AMRI and X-ray are both alternatives to this procedure.

Please contact the Radiology Access Center at 410-328-3225 to schedule an appointment.