CT scan is a type of imaging test. It uses X-rays and computer technology to make images or slices of the body. A CT scan can make detailed pictures of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, organs, and blood vessels. They are more detailed than regular X-rays.
In a CT scan, an X-ray beam moves in a circle around your body. This allows many different views of the same part of the body. The X-ray information is sent to a computer that interprets the X-ray data and displays it on a monitor.
During some tests you receive a contrast dye which may be given orally or through a vein. This will make parts of your body show up better in the image.
CT scans of the kidneys can give more detailed information about the kidneys than standard X-rays. This can provide more information related to injuries or diseases of the kidneys. CT scans of the kidneys can help your healthcare provider find problems such as tumors or other lesions, obstructive conditions, such as kidney stones, congenital anomalies, polycystic kidney disease, buildup of fluid around the kidneys, and the location of abscesses.
Your healthcare provider may need to do other related tests to diagnose kidney problems.
A CT scan of the kidney may be done to check the kidneys for:
A CT scan is also useful when another type of exam, such as X-ray or physical exam, is not conclusive. CT scans of the kidney may be used to evaluate the back part of the abdomen. CT scans of the kidney may be used to help guide the needle placement in kidney biopsies.
After the removal of a kidney, CT scans may be used to locate abnormal masses in the empty space where the kidney once was. Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a CT scan of the abdomen.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the test. Also ask about the risks as they apply to you.
Consider writing down all X-rays you get, including past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be tied to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time.
Tell your provider if:
You may have other risks that are unique to you. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Certain things can make a CT scan of the kidney less accurate. These include:
You may have a CT scan as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital.
The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, a CT scan of the kidney follows this process:
The CT scan is not painful. You may have some discomfort or pain from lying still during the test. This may be because of recent surgery or injury. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and do the scan as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.
If contrast dye was used during your procedure, you may be watched afterward for any side effects or reactions to the contrast dye. These include itching, swelling, rash, or difficulty breathing.
Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any pain, redness, or swelling at the IV site after you go home. This could be a sign of infection or other type of reaction.
Otherwise, you do not need any special care after a CT scan of the kidney. You may go back to your usual diet and activities unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions, depending on your situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: