CT enterography for diagnosis and treatment of bowel disorders

For more information, please call 304-526-2125

Cabell Huntington Hospital offers CT (Computed Tomography) enterography, a quick, painless and accurate test that uses CT scanner technology to help diagnose and treat small bowel abnormalities. It enables visualization of the small bowel and assessment of solid organs as well as a global overview of the abdomen.  

When is CT enterography indicated?

  • Any time there is clinical concern of small bowel disease
  • For evaluation of a submucosal mass and/or structural abnormalities of the small bowel
  • Inflammation, possibly due to Crohn's disease, or small bowel diverticulitis
  • Masses: carcinoid, lymphoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor
  • GI bleeding with negative endoscopy
  • Indeterminate capsule endoscopy

What can the patient expect?

You will be asked to arrive early in order to drink three bottles of negative oral contrast in one hour. The taste of the contrast material may be mildly unpleasant; however, most patients can easily tolerate it. You can expect to experience a sense of abdominal fullness, and any discomfort should be mild and will not last long.

When you enter the CT scanner room, special light lines may be seen projected onto your body to ensure that you are properly positioned. With modern CT scanners, you will hear only slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds as the CT scanner revolves around you during the imaging process. The CT scanner is about 24 inches wide. Your entire body will be "inside" the scanner while your head remains outside. You will be scanned while fully clothed on the exam table. The scan time is approximately five minutes, and you may be given an IV injection of non-ionic contrast during the scan. You may be asked to hold your breath so that the motion from your breathing will not blur the images. When your scan is complete, the technologist will ask you to wait until the staff verifies the quality of the images.

You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, unless there are special circumstances; however, the technologist will always be able to see, hear and speak with you through a built-in intercom system. After a CT exam, you can return to your normal activities. If you received contrast material, loose stools will be present for a couple of hours after the examination. The contrast agent may cause nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Please tell your doctor if these mild side effects become severe or do not go away.

What are the benefits of CT enterography?

  • CT scanning is painless, fast, simple, noninvasive and accurate, and it provides very detailed images of bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.
  • Compared to other imaging procedures of the small intestine, CT enterography is able to visualize the entire thickness of the bowel wall and to evaluate surrounding soft tissues. The other examinations, some of which are invasive, are only able to image the inner lining of the small intestine.
  • CT enterography may eliminate the need for video capsule endoscopy and the potential complications of that procedure.
  • CT can be performed on patients with an implanted medical device of any kind.

If you believe you might benefit from this procedure, please discuss it with your family doctor, who can schedule it by calling 304-526-2125

  • Last updated: 10/08/2012
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