What is Abdomen and Pelvis CTA?
An abdomen and pelvis CTA (computed tomography angiography) is a painless radiology exam. This is performed to examine the cause of unexplained pain in the belly (abdomen) or the area between the hip bones, known as pelvic area, in a non-invasive manner. This scan is also known as CT Angiogram of the Abdomen and Pelvis.
The Abdomen and Pelvis CTA Scan helps doctors in examining the blood vessels in the abdomen and pelvic area, as well as enables them to detect diseases of the colon, small bowel and other internal organs.
The CTA of the abdomen and pelvis is done using a contrast material (dye) that is injected into the veins. The contrast material highlights blockages in the blood vessels, which are then seen more clearly in the scanned images.
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Who Should Get an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA?
Your doctor may recommend a CTA of the abdomen and pelvis if you have one or more of the following ailments or symptoms:
- Unexplained pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen (belly)
- Painful or difficult urination
- High fever
- Severe diarrhea
- Heavy and painful periods
- Heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- Pain during sex
What is the Purpose of an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA?
Your doctor may recommend an abdomen and pelvis CTA to:
- Evaluate unusual pain in the abdomen and pelvic area with uncommon symptoms.
- Look for damage to blood vessels in the abdominal organs such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys after an injury.
- Diagnose diseases of the internal organs, small bowel, and colon, such as
- Appendicitis (severe pain in the appendix because of inflammation)
- Diverticulitis (inflammation or infection in one or more small pouches in the digestive tract)
- Ileus (intestine/bowel doesn’t contract normally and prevents the movement of the waste out of the body)
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease (inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract)
- An abscess (a painful collection of pus in the body)
- Detect cancer of the kidneys, colon, liver, ovaries, pancreas, and bladder.
- Detect kidney and bladder stones.
- Assess blood vessels before planning surgery of the liver or kidney transplant.
Your doctor may also ask you to take the Pelvis CT Scan to confirm the diagnosis for abnormalities in the pelvic area. Your doctor may even recommend the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) test to assess the overall status of your metabolism. Depending on the results, your doctor will confirm the diagnosis and plan your treatment.
How is an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA Performed?
- Before starting the abdomen and pelvis CTA, you will have to remove all the metal objects on your body including eyeglasses, jewelry, hairpins, and dentures.
- A technologist will ask you to lie still on the CT scanner table and will inject contrast material into your vein.
- The CT scanner table will then move slowly through a doughnut-shaped machine.
- An X-ray beam will move in a circle around your abdomen and will take multiple images that will be displayed on a monitor.
- During the scan, the technologist will give you instructions such as ‘stay still’ and ‘hold your breath for 5 to 8 seconds’. Make sure you don’t move during the scan as any movement can blur the images.
How Long Does an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA Take?
An abdomen and pelvis CTA scan is usually completed between 20 to 30 minutes.
Is Radiation Involved in an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA?
Yes. A CT Angiography scan is an imaging test that involves a small amount of radiation to show images of the organs, tissues, and bones of the body.
Are There Any Risks in Taking an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA?
- The risk for radiation exposure is low in a single CT scan. However, radiation’s effect and the risk of developing cancer due to radiation increases with every CT scan a person gets.
- People who have implants containing metal, such as implanted screws or pacemakers, may not get accurate CT scan results.
- Some people might also have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used in a CTA.
When Will I Receive My Results?
Once the Abdomen and Pelvis CTA is completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How Should I Prepare for an Abdomen and Pelvis CTA?
Please refer to the simple preparation guidelines given below or consult with your doctor or radiology center where you are being treated. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.