An abdominal scan typically takes less than 30 minutes, according to MedlinePlus. Patients do not move during that period, and, at certain points, they are required to hold their breath. Motion blurs the images produced by the scanner.
Patients typically experience only minor discomfort during an abdominal CT, or computed tomography, scan, observes MedlinePlus. The table feels hard to some. In certain cases, an intravenous dye is used to provide contrast. The initial burning sensation, metallic taste and warm flush caused by the dye disappear quickly.
An abdominal scan is sometimes used to find the cause of symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain or swelling, MedlinePlus reports. Scans are also useful when a specific condition is suspected, including hernia, kidney stones, appendicitis, infection, injury and cancer or tumors.