What Is a Pelvic CT Scan?

August 13, 2021 – 3 min read

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What Is a Pelvic CT Scan?

Computed tomography (CT) is a noninvasive test that takes several cross-sectional images of an area of the body that are combined into one 3D image. Your physician may order a pelvic CT scan to get a detailed look at the bones, organs and tissues in your pelvis.

Why You May Need a Pelvic CT Scan

Physicians use pelvic CT scans to get a closer look at:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms
  • Abscesses (swollen, infected, inflamed growths)
  • Cancers in the pelvic region, including liver, kidney, pancreatic, ovarian and bladder cancers
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two forms of inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Injuries to the spleen, liver and kidneys
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pelvic infection(s)

Healthcare providers use CT scans to diagnose pelvic conditions, but there are other uses for the imaging test. Your physician may order a scan to guide a needle during a biopsy or abscess drainage. Medical oncologists use pelvic CT scans to evaluate the progress of chemotherapy treatment. Surgeons also use pelvic CT scans to assist with planning and guiding organ transplants. Your physician can learn a great deal from your pelvic CT scan.

How to Prepare for a Pelvic CT Scan

For your safety, let your physician or representative at the imaging facility know if you are pregnant, were recently ill, or have allergies or metal implants. Sometimes contrast dye is used during CT scans. Notify your physician if you are allergic to IV contrast material. Depending on your needs, your physician can arrange a low-dose scan or prescribe anti-allergy medications to take before the scan.

Before your appointment, you will be asked not to eat or drink if contrast dye is needed. Dress in comfortable, loose clothing for the test, and women may want to wear a bra without a metal underwire. Before you leave home, remove all metal objects on your body. This includes jewelry, piercings and removable dental work.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

You may be nervous about your first pelvic CT scan. Remember: the CT scanner is noisy, but the scan itself is relatively painless. If you are claustrophobic, speak with your physician ahead of time about accommodations or taking anti-anxiety medication before the scan.

When you enter the room, the technologist will help you onto a table that slides into the CT scanner. The equipment will rotate around your body to capture images of your abdomen and pelvis. You’ll lie still and hold your breath at times. This is to make sure your technologist gets the best, most precise image possible.

Choosing a Location for Your Pelvic CT Scan

You can choose to have CT scans at a hospital or standalone imaging center. Imaging centers focus exclusively on imaging, which means they often have better equipment, more imaging options and lower prices than most hospitals.

To get an accurate estimate of what your pelvic CT scan will cost at an imaging center, use our MRI and CT Cost Calculator.

Still have questions? Learn more about our CT scan services.