CT Scan of the Abdomen

Your doctor has requested a computed tomography scan (CT or CAT) of your abdomen. CT scans use X-ray technology and advanced computer analysis to create detailed pictures of your body. A CT can help diagnose problems in the liver, spleen, colon, pancreas, kidneys and other internal organs. The Cedars-Sinai S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center has a team of specialists who focus on taking and interpreting CTs. Our team of expert physicians, nurses and technologists is led by Cindy Kallman, MD, chief, Body CT.

Why choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for a CT study

Before Arriving for Your Exam

  • If your exam includes an IV injection of a contrast dye, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for three hours before your exam. You can drink clear liquids, unless you are on restricted fluids. Not all scans use a contrast dye. Its use depends on which parts of the body the scan is being used to analyze. The dye improves the image quality by highlighting certain structures, such as arteries or the colon, making them more visible on the scan.
    • In some cases the contrast dye is given orally, while in other cases it must be placed through the use of an enema.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home and wear comfortable clothing.
  • Although we do not anticipate any delay in your scheduled appointment, we recommend that you bring a book, magazine or music player to help pass any time you may have to wait.
  • Directions and parking information

After Arriving

  • A radiology nurse or technologist will ask you a few questions regarding your medical history.
  • With abdominal CT, the contrast dye is given either orally or through an enema, which is done usually when the colon is being studied. If given orally, you will be asked to drink a contrast liquid and then wait 90 minutes so the contrast can reach the abdomen.
  • Please tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or physician of any allergies you may have before your exam.

During Your Exam

  • While positioning you on the exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • You will be given the contrast dye.
  • Most often, you will be asked to lie flat on your back with your arms over your head.
  • The table you are on will slide into the scanner. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out. The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.
  • You will be asked to hold very still and at times to hold your breath.
  • This procedure usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

After Your Exam

  • There are no restrictions placed on you after this procedure. You may eat and drive as normal.
  • If you received an injection of contrast dye, you should drink six to eight glasses of water to help flush it out of your system.
  • Your study will be read by an imaging physician who specializes in the interpretation of CT scans. The results will be sent to your physician, usually within 48 hours.
  • Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

Below: A pre-surgical volumetric measurement of the left and right lobes of the liver based on a CT of the abdomen.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.