Why Would You Need A CT Of The Abdomen And Pelvis?
We know it can be alarming when you feel pain or discomfort in your mid-section but you don’t know what’s causing it. The first step to feeling better is to find the source of your trouble.
Your healthcare has recommended a CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis because they know that CT is a great technology for finding out exactly what’s bothering you.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand why your healthcare provider thinks a CT scan is a good idea for people in your situation.
What is a CT scan and how does it work?
A CT scan, or Computed Tomography is a scan of your abdomen and pelvis areas and gives healthcare providers a peek into the inner workings of your body. This high-tech CT scanner rotates around your abdomen and pelvis, capturing multiple images from various angles.
A computer then puts together these images into a detailed, cross-sectional view, showing the internal organs, tissues, and structures of your abdomen and pelvis. This comprehensive overview helps your healthcare provider create an informed and effective plan for your care.
How is a CT scan different from other medical imaging scans?
CT scans provide exceptionally clear and detailed images of the internal anatomy. This comes particularly handy when investigating areas filled with multiple organs and tissues, like the abdomen and pelvis, where clarity and precision are key.
Also, CT scans show different tissues that are close together and can even discern different types of tissues (like fat, muscle, or organs), which is crucial in diagnosing, planning treatment, or managing diseases.
Why did my healthcare provider choose a CT scan instead of another scan for abdominal and pelvic issues?
Your abdomen and pelvis are intricate regions, housing vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs, among others. A CT scan provides a notably detailed and clear image of these structures, allowing your healthcare provider to closely observe any abnormalities, changes, or concerns in the area.
There are many reasons why your provider chose a CT scan. It might be to get a clear picture and assess the status of an existing condition, or perhaps to locate a potential cause for any symptoms you might have been experiencing, such as pain or discomfort.
The detailed and precise imagery that a CT scan provides can be pivotal in mapping out the most effective route for further studies, treatment, or monitoring.
What are the risks of having a CT scan?
It’s natural to ponder about the risks associated with any medical scan. CT scans are widely regarded as safe and non-invasive, but like all medical studies, they do carry some level of risk.
The most discussed aspect regarding CT scans tends to be the exposure to radiation. While there is radiation involved, the dose is carefully controlled and kept as low as possible, while also taking clear and accurate images. The risk is generally considered to be low compared to the potential benefits of obtaining crucial information about your health.
Allergic reactions to a contrast agent (if used) are also possible but are extremely rare. For some scans, this contrast material will help to more clearly show certain parts of your body, but some people are allergic to it. Be sure to let your provider know if you have previously had any reactions to contrast material.
Your healthcare provider will consider your medical history, existing conditions, and potential risks before recommending a CT scan, always weighing the possible risks against the potential benefits to ensure your well-being.
Identifying abnormalities in the abdomen and pelvis
Abdominal and pelvic ailments can often be invisible, presenting symptoms that overlap with other conditions, making accurate diagnosis crucial for effective treatment.
A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis provides a window into your body's internal structures and can pinpoint the cause of discomfort or disease.
It’s important for you to understand exactly how a CT scan finds and helps diagnose abnormalities in your midsection.
How do CT scans detect tumors or cysts in the abdomen and pelvis?
A CT scan is adept at producing clear, cross-sectional images, creating a layered visualization of all the organs and tissues. If a tumor or cyst is present, it will appear as an abnormality in comparison to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Through these images, healthcare providers can determine the size, shape, and location of any unusual masses. With the info from a CT scan, your provider can decide on the steps, whether it may be further scans, monitoring, or treatment planning.
What kinds of abnormalities might be found in the liver, kidneys, or other abdominal organs?
Our abdomen, a bustling hub of vital organs, sometimes harbors abnormalities that need thorough investigation. Through CT scans, various potential abnormalities might be unveiled, such as liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, or even hepatic tumors.
In the kidneys, issues like kidney stones, cysts, or tumors could be seen on a CT scan. Beyond these, pancreatic inflammation, adrenal gland masses, and abnormalities in the spleen (such as splenomegaly, or enlarged spleen), are detectable through the detailed imagery that a CT scan provides.
Identifying these abnormalities early and accurately is pivotal, paving the way for appropriate management and intervention.
How does a CT scan help to identify problems in the intestinal tract?
In the intestines, CT scans serve as a valuable navigator, identifying issues that might be causing distress or dysfunction. The detailed images facilitate the identification of inflammations, obstructions, or diseases like Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis within the intestinal tract.
Additionally, abnormalities like polyps or tumors are distinctly visible, allowing for precise localization and characterization. By understanding the nature and location of these issues, healthcare providers can tailor a care plan that matches your specific needs.
How do CT scans detect issues with blood vessels in the abdomen?
The blood vessels in your body transport crucial nutrients and oxygen to where your body needs them. CT scans can magnify our view of this intricate system within the abdomen, detecting any potential roadblocks or issues.
By employing a medical study known as CT angiography, which may involve the use of a contrast material, the scan generates meticulous images of the blood vessels. This allows for the identification of abnormalities like aneurysms, intestinal obstructions, or vascular malformations, ensuring that any potential vascular issues are swiftly recognized and managed appropriately to safeguard your well-being.
Investigating pain and discomfort
Unexplained pain or discomfort can be unsettling, and finding its source is the first step to helping you live pain-free. That’s why CT scans are so important to people experiencing pain or discomfort.
If your doctor recommended a CT scan to find the source of pain in your abdomen or pelvis, there are a few things you should know, ahead of your scan.
Let’s look at how CT scans can be essential tools in uncovering the underlying causes of these issues.
How can a CT scan help identify the cause of unexplained abdominal or pelvic pain?
A CT scan is adept at providing clear and detailed images of the internal structures of the abdomen and pelvis, thereby playing a crucial role in identifying the sources of unexplained pain in these areas.
Creating cross-sectional pictures, allows healthcare providers to scrutinize every layer of the bodily organs and tissues, pinpointing abnormalities like tumors, cysts, or obstructions that might be contributing to discomfort.
The comprehensive visualization helps to locate and determine the nature of any anomalous findings accurately, enabling a precise diagnosis. This clarity allows your provider to craft a more targeted treatment plan, aiming to address the root cause of the pain effectively and to give you relief from your pain.
How does a CT scan show the sources of inflammation in the abdomen?
Inflammation, while being a natural response of the body, can sometimes be an indicator that something isn’t right inside your body. CT scans provide a remarkable insight into areas of inflammation within the abdomen, showcasing the affected organs, tissues, or structures with remarkable clarity.
Whether your inflammation comes from a condition like appendicitis, diverticulitis, or any other inflammatory disease, the CT scan highlights these regions, allowing healthcare providers to pinpoint the exact locations and extent of the inflammation.
How can CT scans investigate unexplained weight loss or changes in bowel habits?
By delivering clear visuals of organs like the stomach, intestines, and liver, the scan enables healthcare providers to spot any abnormalities or issues, such as tumors, obstructions, or inflammations, that might be influencing digestive processes and metabolism.
The revealed anomalies, such as an unnoticed tumor or inflammation, could directly correlate with unexpected weight fluctuations or changes in bowel movements. The information your provider learns from a CT scan is instrumental in determining the underlying causes of these symptoms.
Can a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis help find the root cause of chronic pain?
Yes, by visualizing organs, tissues, and other structures in detail, a CT scan can help healthcare providers locate and understand abnormalities or issues such as tumors, cysts, inflammations, or structural anomalies that might be sources of persistent pain. The precise imaging allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the area in question, aiding in pinpointing the exact cause and location of the problem.
Evaluating trauma from injuries
If you’re recovering from an injury to your abdomen or pelvis regions, a CT scan will help your healthcare provider assess the damage to your tissues, along with any internal bleeding.
If necessary, a CT will also help your provider plan surgery, based on the CT scan’s detailed view of your injury.
Let’s explore how CT scans can support your care when you’ve suffered an injury.
How is a CT scan used to assess the damage after an abdominal injury?
A CT scan allows healthcare professionals to visually explore the affected area without the need for surgical intervention, providing crucial information about the presence and extent of injuries.
Identifying injuries like fractures, hematomas, or disruptions in the abdominal cavity becomes visible through the cross-sectional images obtained during the scan, ensuring a comprehensive assessment without physical intrusion.
How does a CT scan help your healthcare provider understand the severity of internal bleeding?
A CT scan can display blood flow and blood vessels within the abdominal and pelvic regions. It enables healthcare professionals to detect unusual pooling or active bleeding in the area, providing an accurate insight into the severity and location of hemorrhage.
By pinpointing the exact site and extent of bleeding, a CT scan proves invaluable in assessing the internal state following trauma and aids in determining subsequent steps to manage the situation.
How can a CT scan assist in planning surgery after a traumatic injury?
In preparation for surgery following a traumatic injury, a CT scan highlights the exact location and degree of damage. These detailed images inform surgical teams about the specific areas that require attention, enabling them to plan an approach that is both precise and mindful of the existing injuries.
The insights gleaned from the CT images allow for meticulous preparation and risk management, ensuring that the surgical team is thoroughly informed about the internal situation before performing surgery.
The uncertainty that comes with a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, both emotionally and physically. However, as we’ve seen thus far, CT scans are excellent at uncovering the sources of your pain and discomfort.
CT scans are a crucial tool for both you and your healthcare provider to monitor your health. Plus, by making your cancer more visible, the scans can bring you some peace of mind.
We’re going to look into exactly how CT scans support the care of people who are living with cancer.
How does a CT scan help a healthcare provider determine the stage of cancers in the abdomen and pelvis?
A CT scan allows healthcare providers to determine the size, location, and extent of the tumor. This information is crucial for identifying the specific stage of the cancer, including whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other areas. Understanding the stage is vital because it helps guide subsequent discussions and considerations about managing the disease without dictating a specific plan.
Can a CT scan track the progress of a tumor or the effectiveness of cancer treatments?
Yes, a CT scan is used to provide high-resolution images before, during, and after treatment courses, making visible any changes in the size and structure of the tumor. That way, your providers can compare these images to assess whether the tumor is responding to the treatment and whether it’s growing, shrinking, or remaining stable.
How is a CT scan used to plan radiation therapy or surgery for cancer patients?
CT scans contribute significantly to planning radiation therapy and surgery by offering clear and detailed images of anatomical structures and tumors within the abdomen and pelvis.
For radiation therapy, the scans help in delineating the precise location and shape of the tumor, ensuring that radiation beams are accurately targeted to minimize impact on surrounding healthy tissues.
In the context of surgery, CT scans provide a visual guide, aiding surgeons to understand the anatomical landscape they will navigate and to strategize potential surgery beforehand.
How does a CT scan detect metastasis or recurrence of cancer in the abdominal and pelvic region?
A CT scan facilitates the detection of metastasis or recurrence by revealing new growths, or changes in existing growths. The technology is capable of identifying smaller lesions, nodules, or abnormalities that may indicate the spread or return of cancer.
Healthcare providers use CT scans to monitor areas of concern, compare with previous images, and detect any new developments in the patient’s condition without necessarily prescribing a subsequent course of action. This vigilant monitoring helps them to monitor a patient's condition and to promptly identify any concerning developments.
How to schedule an appointment with us
Our goal is to offer you and your healthcare provider the most informative results possible, and we make it easy for you to get an appointment.
With numerous locations across South Jersey, you’ll find us conveniently located near major highways and key bridges in the region.
We’ll ensure the entire scheduling process is as effortless as possible for you. Above all, we are here to help you.
Reach out to us at any of the following locations to book an appointment:
- Greentree Office – Marlton, NJ
- Haddonfield Office – Haddonfield, NJ
- Voorhees Office – Voorhees Township, NJ
- Route 73 Office – Voorhees Township, NJ
- Washington Township Office – Sewell, NJ
- West Deptford Office – West Deptford, NJ
Learn more about the board-certified, subspecialized radiologists who read, analyze, and interpret the findings here at South Jersey Radiology Associates.
A CT scan creates detailed cross-sectional images of the abdomen and pelvis using X-rays and differs from other imaging scans such as MRI by using different technology and providing varied types of images.
Healthcare providers might choose a CT scan for abdominal and pelvic issues due to its effectiveness in providing detailed images of different tissue types and its capability to identify various abnormalities.
Yes, CT scans are proficient at detecting various abnormalities, such as tumors and cysts, in the abdomen and pelvis by providing high-resolution images of the involved organs.
CT scans can identify causes of abdominal or pelvic pain by revealing abnormalities or issues in the organs, blood vessels, tissues and other structures in the abdomen and pelvis.
Yes, CT scans can reveal areas of inflammation in the abdomen by highlighting differences in tissue density and detecting structures that might be affected.
CT scans offer vital insights into the extent of trauma-induced damage, such as internal bleeding or organ injury, assisting healthcare professionals in devising an effective treatment or surgical plan.
CT scans help in the staging of cancers by providing detailed images of the tumor size, location, and involvement with nearby structures, and in monitoring, it reveals changes in tumor size and/or its spread over time.
CT scans help to plan radiation therapy by providing accurate 3D images of the tumor, allowing precise targeting and minimization of radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.