Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body
Why It Is Done
CT scans are used to study areas of the body and the arms or legs.
- Chest (thorax). A CT scan of the chest can look for problems with the lungs, heart, Reference esophagus Opens New Window, the major blood vessel (Reference aorta Opens New Window), or the tissues in the center of the chest. Some common chest problems a CT scan may find include infection, Reference lung cancer Opens New Window, a Reference pulmonary embolism Opens New Window, and an Reference aneurysm Opens New Window. It also can be used to see if cancer has spread into the chest from another area of the body.
- Abdomen. A CT scan of the abdomen can find Reference cysts Opens New Window, Reference abscesses Opens New Window, infection, tumors, an aneurysm, enlarged Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window, foreign objects, bleeding in the belly, Reference diverticulitis Opens New Window, Reference inflammatory bowel disease Opens New Window, and Reference appendicitis Opens New Window.
- Urinary tract. A CT scan of the kidneys, Reference ureters Opens New Window, and bladder is called a CT KUB or CT urogram. This type of scan can find Reference kidney stones Opens New Window, bladder stones, or blockage of the Reference urinary tract Opens New Window. See a picture of a Reference CT of diseased kidneys Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. A special type of CT scan, called a CT intravenous pyelogram (IVP), uses injected dye (contrast material) to look for kidney stones, blockage, growths, infection, or other diseases of the urinary tract.
- Liver. A CT scan can find liver tumors, bleeding from the liver, and liver diseases. A CT scan of the liver can help determine the cause of Reference jaundice Opens New Window.
- Pancreas. A CT scan can find a tumor in the pancreas or inflammation of the pancreas (Reference pancreatitis Opens New Window).
- Gallbladder and bile ducts. A CT scan can be used to check for blockage of the Reference bile Opens New Window ducts. Reference Gallstones Opens New Window occasionally show up on a CT scan. But other tests, such as Reference ultrasound Opens New Window, usually are used to find problems with the gallbladder and bile ducts.
- Adrenal glands. A CT scan can find tumors or enlarged adrenal glands.
- Spleen. A CT scan can be used to check for an injury to the Reference spleen Opens New Window or the size of the spleen.
- Pelvis. A CT scan can look for problems of organs in the pelvis. For a woman, these include the Reference uterus Opens New Window, Reference ovaries Opens New Window, and Reference fallopian tubes Opens New Window. For a man, the pelvic organs include the Reference prostate gland Opens New Window and the Reference seminal vesicles Opens New Window.
- Arm or leg. A CT scan can look for problems of the arms or legs, including the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle, or foot.
Other uses for a CT scan
A CT scan may be used to make sure a procedure is done correctly. For example, the doctor may use CT to guide a needle during a tissue biopsy or to guide the proper placement of a needle to drain an abscess.
For people with cancer, a CT scan can help determine how much the cancer has spread. This is called staging the cancer.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 21, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology