We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a CT Scan with Contrast?

By Thomma Grindstaff
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A computed tomography (CT) scan with contrast allows a doctor to better see particular areas inside the body. Sometimes called a computed axial tomography (CAT) scan, a CT scan uses x-rays to provide cumulative views of bodily structures from multiple angles. Contrast material is a dye that highlights specific organs or tissues during the CT process and makes those structures easier for doctors to see on the images that result.

CT scanners are vital diagnostic tools in the hands of medical professionals. Using a CT scan with contrast, a doctor can examine all parts inside a patient's body for signs of disease. The cross-sectional images that result from a scan facilitate early detection of tumors, abscesses, abnormal blood flow, and signs of many other serious conditions so that these illnesses can be treated in a timely manner.

One of the most commonly used materials in CT scan with contrast is iodine dye. Other contrast materials include gastrografin, barium, and barium sulfate, any of which can be given as oral, rectal, or intravenous (IV) contrast. Patients who must undergo CT scan with contrast may be required by their doctors not to eat solid food for four to six hours prior to the scan. If a person is allergic to the contrast material, he or she might need special medications before the scan in order to safely undergo the procedure.

Injected dye, given through a vein in the patient's hand or forearm, is used to highlight blood vessels or major organs and structures like the brain, the spine, or the liver. The dye is sometimes injected directly into a site that a doctor wants to study, such as the knee or elbow joint. In oral administration of contrast, often used for abdominal scans, the patient is required to drink the contrast material before his or her CT scan. The time interval between drinking the contrast material and undergoing the CT scan varies, and the interval depends on which part of the body the doctor wants to examine. Rectal administration, accomplished through an enema, is used when doctors need to study the large intestine.

Side effects of a CT scan with contrast may include blood clots, dizziness, nausea, and hives. Patients who have multiple scans might, over time, develop an allergy to the contrast material. Anyone who has experienced adverse effects as a result of a previous CT scan should tell his or her doctor before undergoing a subsequent procedure. Prior to a CT scan with contrast, patients should inform their doctors of all medications they are taking and any medical conditions for which they are being treated.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.