An abdominal computed tomography, or CT, scan uses x-rays to examine the abdomen from several different angles, according to MedlinePlus. The test is used to check several conditions, including hernias, abdominal masses, kidney stones, appendicitis and abdominal pain.
A contrasting dye is needed for a CT scan, because it helps images appear more clearly, explains MedlinePlus. This is introduced into the patient's body before the procedure through an IV or drink. At the start of the scan, the patient typically lies face-up on a movable table that enters the scanning device. Arms are usually raised over the head.
The x-rays then move around the patient, who must remain still, MedlinePlus states. After the scan, the doctor has several computer images, or slices, of the abdomen.