Before the CT Abdomen Scan
Before a patient can undergo a CT scan, he or she must obtain a written referral from their general physician stating why the patient requires the scan. The patient will then undergo the CT scan at either a hospital or at an outpatient radiology center.
Prior to the actual CT scan, some patients may require an injection of a contrast material, such as barium, to increase visibility. This is especially important for patients whose CT abdominal scan is meant to scan the gastrointestinal tract. This contrast material has a different opacity than the soft tissues of the body, and will make the soft tissues “stand out” on the CT images. Contrast material is injected into the patient through a small needle attached to an intravenous line. This intravaneous line is inserted into a vein in the hand or arm. In some cases, the contrast material may be given by mouth or through an enema. Sometimes, all three methods of contrast material are used.