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Definition An abdominal mass is swelling in one part of the belly area (abdomen). Alternative Names Mass in the abdomen Considerations An abdominal mass is usually found during a routine physical examination . Most of the time the mass develops slowly. You may not be able to feel the mass. Finding where the pain occurs helps the doctor make a diagnosis. For example, the abdomen is usually divided into four areas: Right-upper quadrant Left-upper quadrant Right-lower quadrant Left-lower quadrant Other terms used to find the location of abdominal pain or masses include: Epigastric -- center of the abdomen just below the rib cage Periumbilical -- area around the bellybutton The location of the mass and its firmness, texture, and other qualities can provide clues to its cause. Common Causes Abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause a pulsating mass around the navel. Bladder distention (urinary bladder over-filled with fluid) can cause a firm mass in the center of the lower abdomen above the pelvic bones. In extre...
An abdominal CT scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the belly area. CT stands for computed tomography.
See also: CT scan
Computed tomography scan - abdomen; CT scan - abdomen; CAT scan - abdomen
How the test is performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. Usually, you will lie on your back with your arms raised above the head.
Once you are inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you. (Modern "spiral" scanners can perform the exam without stopping.)
A computer creates separate images of the belly area, called slices. These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film. Three-dimensional models of the belly area can be created by stacking the slices together.
You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your breath for short per...
One of the major risks of having spine surgery is the development of an infection. Discitis is an uncommon infection of the spinal disc that can occur after spinal surgery. Because of its rarity, discitis is often not on the minds of doctors. In this world of rushed, inattentive doctors, a person with an infection of the spine can be dismissed as a "common back pain" case when in fact discitis is the culprit.
A 58 year old woman who had years of lumbar pain came to me one and a half years following a complicated lumbar fusion; the surgery was complicated by the fact that the surgeon had to operate twice in order to get the hardware placed correctly. Unfortunately, the surgery did not cure her pain; and she came to me for pain management.
Two months into her treatment with me, she had a severe episode of low back pain after shoveling snow. She went to her primary doctor with not only complaints of worsening back pain, but she also had a fever and an upset stomach. That ...
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