CT scanning, sometimes called CAT scanning, is a medical test that combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple pictures of the inside of the body that can be studied and examined on a computer monitor. CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams.
Prior to most CT scans of the abdomen & pelvis, it is important to drink an oral contrast agent. This contrast agent helps the radiologist to identify the stomach, small and large bowel, detect abnormalities of these organs and to separate these structures from other structures within your abdomen. You will be required to fast for 4hrs prior to you scan in order to facilitate the movement of the oral contrast through your bowel.
An iodine dye (contrast material) is often used to make structures, organs and blood vessels easier to see on the CT pictures. It is injected in a vein through an IV and may give you a sensation of warmth, a taste in your mouth and sometimes a warm sensation in your lower body. These sensations last for a very short time and are completely normal.
CT colonography uses CT scanning to obtain an interior view of the colon (large bowel). It is done mainly to screen for abnormalities and growths that are called polyps that may arise from the inner lining of the intestine. You will be asked to take a bowel preparation (usually Pico Salax) to clean out your bowel the day before your examination. A small tube will be inserted into your rectum to allow air to be gently pumped into the colon to distend it and to remove any folds or wrinkles that might obscure the physician’s view. If necessary a muscle relaxing drug may be injected intravenously to lessen discomfort. The examination lasts approximately 15 minutes.
The results will be faxed directly to whoever ordered the examination. Depending on the time of day or which day of the week you had your examination on, your health care provider should receive the results within two to three business days.