Q:

Why is a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis ordered?

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Quick Answer

CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis are ordered to find diseases like cancer, according to Mayo Clinic. A CT scan can find the exact location of a tumor in these areas, measure its size and determine if it has spread to nearby structures, claims the Radiology Society of North America.

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Full Answer

CT scans are also used to find broken bones, blood clots and infections in the pelvis and abdomen, notes Mayo Clinic. They are also used to guide medical professionals as they perform surgeries and biopsies or administer radiation therapy. A CT scan also finds soft tissue injuries in the abdomen or the pelvis.

A CT, or computerized tomography, scan uses X-rays taken from several angles, explains Mayo Clinic. These images are then processed by a computer to provide images of the interior of the patient's abdominal and pelvic areas. The images are much more detailed than those provided by a traditional X-ray, and the Radiological Society of North America explains that they can be three dimensional. They are downloadable to a computer and transferrable to DVD or CD.

The CT scanner is usually a large box with a tunnel through its center, according to the Radiological Society of North America. The patient lies on a table that slides in and out of the box, and the tube and detectors mounted on a rotating gantry take X-rays of the patient's abdomen and pelvis.

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