Abdomen/Pelvis CT Scan

What is a CT Scan of the abdomen and pelvis?

This is an X-ray-based procedure in which images (pictures) are taken from the base of your lungs through the bottom of your pelvis.

How do I prepare for the exam?

No food should be eaten for four (4) hours prior to your exam time, but fluids are encouraged. 

If you need to drink barium, two options are available to you:
1.Arrive 2 hours prior to your scheduled appointment time, which allows for parking, registering and drinking the barium sulphate, which needs adequate time for the suspension to travel through the gastro-intenstinal tract.
2. Patient’s can pick up a barium kit at the Lab/Radiology Reception Desk at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, or at the Waltham Urgent Care Center. By picking up a barium kit you would only need to arrive at the hospital 30 minutes prior to your appointment time. Instructions for drinking the barium at home are included in the barium kits.

For patients who need to drink water for their exam, you should arrive at the Hospital 30-40 minutes prior to your appointment time. You will be given the water when you arrive in the CT Department.

Patients should wear comfortable clothing that has little or no metal.

What will happen during the exam?

Depending on the reason that you are coming in for the CT Scan and after the oral contrast is given, you may receive an I.V. in which we will inject another contrast. The barium or water will fill your digestive tract where the injection will highlight your vascular system and vascular organs, such as your spleen, pancreas and kidneys.

During the actual exam you will lie on a table with your arms raised above your head. This table will rise up and move in and out of a large circle. The technologist will explain the breathing instructions that you will hear and cover some specific medical history questions.

Once the instructions and questions are completed the scan will start. A few images (pictures) will be taken. The technologist will set up the area to be scanned. It is very important that you hold still. 

If you are receiving an injection of contrast, a technologist will stay in the room for the start of the injection and step out just prior to the scan starting again. There will be times when delayed images may be required which means you will need to remain on the table. You can keep your arms in a comfortable position until the scan starts again.

How long will the procedure take?

Depending on the reason for your test, the procedure can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

What will happen after the exam?

After the technologist helps you from the table, you may be asked to remain in a holding area for 10-15 minutes before your I.V. is removed. This will allow the technologist to make sure you are feeling well before you leave.

While you are waiting to be released a technologist will process your images using a computer. A Radiologist will evaluate the images within 24 hours and create a report. A transcription of the report will be typed and sent to your physician. 

How will I learn the results?

You will get the results of the exam from your doctor.

Important: If there is any possibility that you are PREGNANT or NURSING a baby, please speak with your referring physician before your scheduled appointment.

Find a Doctor

Find primary care physicians and specialists.


Classes - Yoga, CPR, and more

Newton-Wellesley offers a variety of wellness center and childbirth education classes throughout the year. Learn CPR, practice yoga, prepare a sibling for a new child in the family, and more.
» Class info


2015 Top Docs List

More than 30 Newton-Wellesley affiliated physicians made Boston magazine's annual list recognizing some of the area's best doctors.
» Learn More  

Hospital Ranked #11

US News and World Report has ranked Newton-Wellesley Hospital 11th in Massachusetts.
» Learn More