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CT Scans - Areas of the Body

At the Washington Hospital Outpatient Imaging Center, the CT studies are interpreted by board certified radilogists. Reports are generated and sent to the referring physician. CT scans are used to study almost all areas and systems of the body. CT scans can be done either of a particular body part or of an organ system such as the arteries or bones. Below is a brief description of some common areas that are evaluated by CT scans.

  • Chest (thorax) problems. A CT scan may find infection, lung cancer, a pulmonary embolism, and an aneurysm. 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 cysts, abscesses, infection, tumors, an aneurysm, enlarged lymph nodes, foreign objects, bleeding in the belly, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and appendicitis
  • Urinary tract. A CT scan of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder is called a CT KUB or CT urogram. This type of scan can find kidney stones, bladder stones, or blockage of theurinary tract. 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 jaundice.
  • Pancreas. A CT scan can find a tumor in the pancreas or inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Gallbladder and bile ducts. A CT scan can be used to check for blockage of the bile ducts. Gallstones occasionally show up on a CT scan. But other tests, such as ultrasound, 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 spleen 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 uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. For a man, the pelvic organs include theprostate gland and the seminal vesicles.
  • Extremities (Arm or leg). A CT scan can be done for evaluation of the bones and joints of the upper and lower extremities. The arteries of the extremities can also be evaluated by CT when a contrast material is injected into the vein. See CT angiography.
  • Paranasal sinus: Evaluates for inflammatory and infections disease of the sinuses. It can also be used for pre-operative planning when surgery may be contemplated
  • Neck: Evaluates for inflammatory/infectious diseases and malignancies.
  • Head: Evaluates for signs and symptoms of stroke, trauma, infections, tumors

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.

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