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Overview of Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans

CT Scans With Contrast

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A contrast medium may be needed in some patients who have a computerized tomography scan. A barium based or water-based liquid contrast medium may need to be consumed orally before a patient has a pelvic or abdominal CT scan. If the scan is to be focused on the patient's small intestine, they may need to arrive at least an hour ahead of their scheduled scan. This time is required so the contrast medium has time to reach their small intestine before the scan is taken. 

Some patients need to have an intravenous contrast medium for their computerized tomography scan to highlight blood flow through the suspected structure or organ in the body. Intravenous contrast medium is injected into a vein in the patient's arm so it enters into their circulation. The intravenous contrast medium may make patients feel flushed or unusually warm. Some patients may get an upset stomach from the intravenous contrast medium after it is injected.

Read about the risks associated with computerized tomography scans next.

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Whitney Alexandra
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