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Pelvic and Abdominal Computerized Axial Tomography

What you should know

A computerized axial tomography scan is also called a CT scan, or a CAT scan. A CT scan uses x-rays to take pictures of blood vessels, tissues, bones, or organs in your abdomen or pelvis.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • A CT scan may not show all of the medical problems in your pelvis or abdomen. The contrast used in a CT scan may cause a rash, itching, or trouble breathing. If you have diabetes, your risk for kidney damage may increase if contrast dye is used. If you are pregnant, a CT scan may be harmful to your unborn baby. The radiation from a CT scan may damage organs in your body, or increase your risk for cancer. These conditions may become life-threatening.
  • If you do not have a CT scan, your caregiver may not find or learn about your condition, and it may get worse. Without the scan, caregivers may not know if treatments are working.

Getting Ready

Before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.

The night before your procedure:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • You will be asked to remove any objects that contain metal, such as jewelry, that may interfere with the pictures.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • You may be given an injection of contrast dye to help caregivers see blood vessels, tissue, bones, or organs more clearly. Tell your caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. You may be given medicine to help prevent a reaction to the dye.


What will happen:

Your caregiver will ask you to lie on your back on a narrow table. If you are getting contrast dye, pictures may be taken before and after the dye is given. The CT scan table will be moved into the hole in the middle of the machine. You will hear clicking sounds as the machine moves and takes pictures. You will need to lie still during the CT scan. Caregivers may tell you to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan . When the scan is done, the table will move out of the machine.

After your procedure:

Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your procedure.
  • You have new pain in your abdomen or pelvis.
  • You urinate very little.
  • You have new blood in your urine or bowel movement.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You are unable to urinate.
  • You have severe pain that does not go away, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have new bleeding from your vagina, even when you are not having your monthly period.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Pelvic and Abdominal Computerized Axial Tomography (Precare)

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