Search for your doctor or find doctors accepting new patients.
Find out about our hospital visiting hours and policies.
Log In to MyUCSDChart to access your medical information
Find out about our academic nursing program.
Your physician has ordered a CT scan of your abdomen and/or pelvis, which allows precise visualization of the organs and structures within your abdominal and/or pelvic cavity. A series of x-rays will be taken at various angles allowing for detailed examination of the abdominal organs.
You will be asked to pick up a container of oral contrast from the Radiology Department. You will need to drink this contrast before coming to the hospital for your CT scan. Therefore, it is important that you pick up the oral contrast no later than the day before your scan.
During the CT scan, you may also be given contrast media intravenously. Since contrast media is filtered through your kidneys, you will need to have a blood test to determine kidney function (creatinine level), before you can be given the contrast media. Your doctor will write the order for this test. Be sure you have a kidney function test within 30 days prior to the CT scan.
When you schedule your CT scan, the person scheduling the scan needs to know:
You will lie on a table that will pass slowly through a large opening in the scanner as x-rays are taken. You will be asked to lie perfectly still throughout the procedure, so that blurring does not occur. Even though you will be alone in the room, you will be closely observed at all times. If contrast is used, it will be injected into your arm through an IV line. At the time of injection, you may have a momentary feeling of warmth and flushing, a salty taste in your mouth, and possibly some mild nausea. This should pass quickly. The scan itself is painless and should take approximately 30 minutes.
After the scan, you should be able to resume your normal diet and activities. Drink at least 5 to 6 glasses of water a day for 2 days after the scan. The water helps flush the contrast media from your system. If you must limit your fluid intake because of a heart problem or for any other reason, talk with your doctor about how much water you can safely drink.
If you are a diabetic who takes any medication that contains metformin, you must have a blood test to check your kidney function before you can start taking metformin again. Call your doctor for the results of the blood test and for instructions about resuming metformin. This is to prevent kidney damage and a serious reaction called lactic acidosis.
If you have questions, call the Radiology Department where you are having the procedure:
To Reschedule or Cancel, call 619-543-3405 as soon as possible.
If you call after hours, please leave your name, Medical Record (MR) number, telephone number and a message. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Computed Tomography DivisionUC San Diego Medical Center200 West Arbor DriveSan Diego, CA 619-543-6893
Official Web Site of the University of California, San Diego.