Munson Health
Computed Tomography Enterography

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by Jones P



What to Expect

Prior to Test

Your doctor may instruct you to:
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything for four hours before the test
  • Remove any metal objects, such as jewelry, hearing aids, or dentures

Description of Test

You will be asked to drink several glasses of liquid about 1-2 hours before the test. This liquid is contrast. It will help to fill the small intestine and create clearer pictures. If you are unable to drink all the liquid, you may be given a feeding tube. You will also be given a second contrast through an IV. This will help the doctors see certain structures like blood vessels.
You will be asked to lie on a special table. The technician may use pillows or straps to make sure you are in the best position. The technician will leave the room but you will be able to talk to them through an intercom.
The table will move slowly through the scanner. You may need to take several passes through the machine. For the clearest image, you will need to be still during the entire test. As the scanner takes pictures, you will hear humming and clicking. The technician may also ask you to hold your breath at certain points. Your doctor may offer medication if you are having trouble holding still because of pain or anxiety.

After Test

The technician will make sure the needed images are taken.
You may be asked to drink extra fluids. This will help flush the contrast from your intestines. You may have diarrhea or loose bowels while the contrast passes.

How Long Will It Take?

About 10-60 minutes

Will It Hurt?

The test itself does not hurt. Holding one position through the test may be uncomfortable. Your doctor may offer medication if you have pain during the test.
You may also feel flushed from the contrast. Contrast can also cause a salty or metallic taste in your mouth and nausea.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if any of the following occurs after the test:
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Swollen, itchy eyes
  • Tightness of throat
  • Difficulty breathing
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American Cancer Society

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America

Radiological Society of North America



Canadian Association of Radiologists

Canadian Radiation Protection Association



Baker ME, Einstein DM, et al. Computer Tomography Enterography and Magnetic Resonance Enterography: The Future of Small Bowel Imaging. Clin Colon Rectal Surg . 2008 August; 21(3): 193–212.

CT enterography. American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: . Updated June 5, 2012. Accessed March 28, 2013.


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