Pelvic CT scan

What is a Pelvic CT Scan?

A pelvic CT scan, also called a computerized axial tomography scan or CAT scan is an imaging test that creates detailed pictures of the pelvic area. The scan uses X-rays and a computer to create cross-sectional images of the organs, bones, and tissues of the pelvis.

Preparing for a Pelvic CT Scan

Since the CT scan uses X-rays, you may need to take certain steps before the test. The most important step in preparing for a CT scan is to make sure that you are not pregnant. If you are pregnant, your doctor may advise you to avoid the test.

You might also need to avoid eating or drinking for several hours before your scan, depending on the type of scan being done. Before your scan, tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, or vitamins you are taking. You should also inform the doctor if you are allergic to contrast material or if you have ever had a reaction.

What is the Procedure for a Pelvic CT Scan?

During the pelvic CT scan, you will be asked to lie on a table that slides into a doughnut-shaped machine. Most CT scans are fast; the scan usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.

The CT technologist may ask you to hold your breath during the scan so that the images are not blurred. You may hear a hum or a click from the machine as it takes the images. During the scan, you may sometimes feel warm or experience pressure due to the amount of radiation used.

Types of Pelvic CT Scans

There are two main types of pelvic CT scans: abdomen-pelvis CT scans and pelvic CT angiograms.

  • Abdomen-Pelvis CT Scan: This type of scan looks at the organs, bones, tissue, lymph nodes, and blood vessels in the abdomen and pelvis. It may be used to diagnose a variety of conditions, such as tumors, infection, and organ damage.
  • Pelvic CT Angiography: This type of scan looks at the blood vessels that supply the pelvic area. It may be used to diagnose blood vessel blockages, aneurysms, or other vascular conditions.

Why is a Pelvic CT Scan Done?

A pelvic CT scan may be done to diagnose a variety of conditions, including:

  • Cancer of the pelvic area
  • Infection in the pelvic area
  • Pelvic injury or trauma
  • Inflammatory diseases, such as appendicitis
  • Blood vessel conditions, such as aneurysms

When is a Pelvic CT Scan Needed?

Your doctor may order a pelvic CT scan if you have symptoms of an abdominal or pelvic disorder. For example, if you have pain in your abdomen or pelvis, your doctor may order a pelvic CT scan to look for the cause of the pain.

Your doctor may also order a pelvic CT scan if you have a fever, signs of infection, or if you have been injured in the pelvic area.

Risks of a Pelvic CT Scan

CT scans do involve the use of X-rays, so there is a risk of radiation exposure. The radiation dose from a CT scan is usually low, but there is still a risk of developing cancer from radiation exposure.

There is also a slight risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast material. In rare cases, patients may also experience nausea, vomiting, or a headache after the scan.