How Long Does a CT Scan of the Abdomen Take?

December 2, 2020 – 3 min read

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How Long Does a CT Scan of the Abdomen Take?

 The quick, easy answer: About 30 minutes or less. Because of the advanced technology, a CT scan is one of the fastest ways to detect an illness or health problem in the abdomen. You’ll be home in no time. 

Still have questions about your appointment? Take a look at some other commonly asked questions about a CT scan before your visit with us.

What is a CT Scan of the Abdomen?

Your physician may order a CT scan to detect disease in the small bowel or colon. A CT scan is often helpful to diagnose appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney stones and even several types of cancers that occur in this area of the body.

How Much Does a CT Scan of the Abdomen Cost?

Hospitals are notorious for high prices, and scans at a hospital are expensive. Imaging centers tend to offer better equipment, experienced staff and lower prices. 

The cost of a CT scan of the abdomen shouldn’t stop you from receiving an important diagnosis. Check out a breakdown of how much a CT scan costs at American Health Imaging (AHI) or use our CT cost calculator for an estimate based on your state.

How Do You Prepare for Your CT Scan?

For most CT scans, you will be asked to stop eating about four hours before exam time, but fluids are encouraged. Wear comfortable clothing that has no metal zippers or clasps. Your technician will let you know if you will be asked to wear a gown. Leave jewelry and valuables at home. 

Be sure to let your physician know before your scheduled appointment if you are pregnant, might be pregnant or are nursing a baby.

Depending on the type of scan, you may be given contrast dye before your scan.

What Should You Expect With a CT Scan of the Abdomen?

The scanning machine is a long tube with a table that slides in and out. During the exam, you will lie on the table with your arms over your head. While positioning you on the table, the technologist will explain what’s going to happen and can answer any questions you might have. The machine is open on both ends, so you can see out as you lie inside. If you dislike enclosed spaces, talk to your doctor about taking a mild sedative before the procedure to help you stay calm.

During the scan, it is important to hold as still as possible. This will help your technician generate accurate images. The images from a CT scan show excellent soft tissue detail.

There are usually no restrictions placed on you when the procedure is complete. You may eat, drive and go on with your day as normal.

Does a CT Scan of the Abdomen Hurt?

The actual imaging is painless and doesn’t hurt any more than if someone were to take a picture of you. Some patients only experience minor discomfort because they feel the table is too hard, and don’t like to hold still while some images are taken. Express any concerns beforehand with your technician, and your provider will do their best to ensure you feel comfortable during the scan.

The intravenous dye may cause an initial, mild burning sensation, a metallic taste in your mouth or a warm body flush that will disappear quickly. Occasionally, mild reactions to the dye are experienced as a rash or itchiness. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever had any reaction to contrast materials. An allergic reaction can be serious but is rare. 

When Do You Get Results?

After a technician reads the images, the results are sent to your doctor within 24 hours. Your doctor will be in contact with you to share the results and suggest a  treatment plan.

Find a CT Scan Near You at AHI

Request an appointment for a CT scan today at American Health Imaging at one of our Southeast locations.

This post was updated on 12/02/2020.