What Organs Does A Pelvic CT Scan Show?

There are numerous reasons why you may need to undergo a pelvic CT scan, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.

What Organs Does A Pelvic CT Scan Show

Many people have a lot of anxiety about the scan and worry about what the can may show. 

You may be asking yourself what organs come up on a pelvic CT scan for instance. Well, your bladder, reproductive organs, small intestine and colon will show up, along with various pelvic bones.

Of course, what specifically comes up will depend on your sex. 

There’s a lot I need to unpack here, so I’ve written this comprehensive guide that explains everything you need to know. I’ll look at what a pelvic CT scan is, how it works and what you can expect.

Ready to learn more? Read on for much more information!

What Is A Pelvic CT Scan?

A CT (computed tomography) scan of your pelvis is a method of imagery using x-rays which then creates cross-sectional images of the area around your hip bones – otherwise known as the pelvic area. 

A singular CT image is known as a slice and these slices are then stored on a computer – which can later be viewed on a monitor or printed via film.

By collating these slices and stacking them, specialists are able to create a 3D model of the area for examination.

What Organs Show On A Pelvic CT Scan

As I briefly discussed earlier, it will depend on your sex for which specific organs appear on a pelvic CT scan.

For males, the prostate and male reproductive organs will show and for females, the female reproductive organs will show. 

However, everyone’s lymph nodes, small intestine, colon and bladder will show up – along with pelvic bones and other bones. 

What Is A Pelvic CT Scan For?

There are various reasons why a doctor might recommend someone has a pelvic CT scan.

Generally speaking, as the scan is specifically looking at the pelvic area, the rationale behind a pelvic CT scan is to examine for things like:

  • Masses or tumours which could be cancerous 
  • Why someone is experiencing pain in the area 
  • Checking for damage to the area due to injury or accident

There are additional reasons why a pelvic CT scan might be performed and this is normally to prepare for a future procedure. For example, a pelvic CT scan might be for:

  • A surgeon to examine the best area for a biopsy or other procedure 
  • A surgeon to prepare for future surgery 
  • A doctor to plan radiation treatment for cancer 

How Is A Pelvic CT Scan Performed?

A pelvic CT scan can be daunting for some people, but it’s a relatively simple procedure and there’s no need to panic. You will first be asked to lie down onto a narrow table which then slides into the centre of a CT scanner.

Once you are inside the CT scanner, the machine will begin by using x-rays which beam around you – but you will not be able to see this happening.

It’s imperative that you remain still during the scan because any movement can blur the imagery.

Sometimes, the medical professionals will ask you to hold your breath for a short period of time, and this may happen a few times during the pelvic CT scan.

Typically, these scans last no longer than ten minutes, but it will depend on how well the test is going.

Preparing For A Pelvic CT Scan 

The first thing you should do before your pelvic CT scan is to ask any questions you may have to your doctor and they should provide you with peace of mind.

What Organs Does A Pelvic CT Scan Show (1)

The second thing you should remember is not to panic! It’s a painless examination and will not take long.

Some pelvic CT scans require a special dye to be used known as contrast media, and this has to be administered before the scan begins. This allows for a much better contrast, and therefore better image quality for x-rays.

The dye can be administered intravenously (IV), which is through a vein typically in your forearm. However, sometimes it is necessary for the liquid to be drunk – but if this is the case, you’ll likely be told beforehand not to drink or eat anything up to six hours before.

You will go through a series of questions with the examiner before you undergo this though. They will ask you if you take any diabetes medication for example, because this can affect their approach and other precautions may need to be taken.

They will also ask you if you have any kidney problems, because an IV method may not be suitable if you do. Additionally, they will check your weight because the CT scanner has a limit of around 136 kilograms. 

Finally, they will check that you do not have any metal on you or in you. All jewellery wil need to be removed as the machine uses magnetism. More often than not though, you will be wearing a hospital gown – so this should not be a problem. 

How The Test Might Feel 

Some people report discomfort on the table due to how stable and flat it is. Aside from this, some people claim that the contrast IV has led to things like:

  • A slight burning sensation
  • Horrible taste or metallic taste in the mouth 
  • Warm flush throughout their body 

While these sensations are perfectly normal, it’s important to tell your medical professionals and your doctor about your reactions. They may need to monitor you for a while depending on how you have reacted to the procedure. 

The Bottom Line 

A pelvic CT scan will show the organs around your pelvic region and the examination is a perfectly normal one to have, and it can in some cases save your life. Be sure to speak with your GP about any concerns you may have.

Clare McAfee
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