Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

CT (computed tomography) of the abdomen and pelvis is performed for evaluation of abdominal diseases. This radiologic test or scan can be performed with or without contrast. Most patients receive an injection of iodinated contrast during the test. The contrast agent highlights abdominal structures and helps with the identification of abdominal diseases. CT scans performed for certain reasons (like renal stones) do not require contrast injection. Patients should alert the physician if they have had an allergic reaction to iodinated contrast agents in the past. If so, a patient would need to take a premedication regimen consisting of steroid and benadryl (starting the night before) to decrease chance of repeat allergic reaction. Shellfish allergy does not increase risk of allergic reaction with iodinated contrast and does not require premedication. Patients should not eat any solid food for five hours prior to the CT, although clear fluids are okay up to one hour before the study.


The diagnostic and therapeutic services provided by UAB Radiology play an important role in the comprehensive care delivered at UAB, and Radiology works with every department within UAB Medicine. Our radiology and interventional radiology physicians are national leaders in their field and widely published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. They are actively involved in testing and teaching for new techniques and equipment, and they partner with your other physicians to deliver care. UAB Radiology team members are committed to safety and use the American College of Radiology guidelines for dosage and safety procedures. UAB Interventional Radiology's new ambulatory clinic – located within The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital – provides patients with enhanced pre-procedure evaluations, follow-up services, and more comprehensive care for complex conditions.

As part of a leading academic medical center, UAB Radiology oversees or participates in clinical trials that may provide new opportunities for low-dose drugs, more effective tests, and other new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area. The extensive experience and expertise of our radiologists and technologists help ensure that the most accurate and in-depth testing is used in evaluating and treating your condition. We use the latest interventional devices and most advanced imaging techniques, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, sonogram, and CT (computed tomography) scans. We perform an average of 7,600 CT scans and 3,600 sonograms each month, all while making your comfort and convenience our top priority. Our efficient, attentive staff and the availability of multiple imaging units will help your radiology visit go smoothly.

As a large teaching hospital, UAB Medicine is on the forefront of imaging equipment, and we frequently play a role in improving traditional and emerging imaging technologies, including some designed to reduce radiation exposure during tests. One example is the GE Healthcare CT 750 HD CT scanner, which is used at the UAB Radiology clinic to obtain high-definition images while reducing patients’ radiation exposure.



Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts in the bone. There are several types of bone cancer, but the most common is called osteosarcoma. It usually affects patients under 30 but can occur at any age. Osteosarcoma can begin in any bone, but it is more often seen in the longer bones of the arms and legs, or the pelvic bones. Osteosarcoma normally is treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. There are other types of bone cancers, like chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma. Other cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma start in the bone marrow but are referred to as blood cell cancers.

Other cancerous masses, known as soft tissue sarcomas, can develop in the soft tissue of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, joints, and tissues that connect the body together. There are many types of soft tissue sarcomas, but they are rare. They tend to occur in the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen but can develop in any area of the body. Soft tissue sarcomas are most common in patients age 30-70, though certain types can affect younger adults and even children. They usually are treated with a combination of surgery and radiation, and sometimes chemotherapy. Cancer that has spread (metastasized) from other parts of the body to the bone usually is treated with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.

Tumors in the musculoskeletal system are much more likely to be benign (non-cancerous). Primary bone cancer, or cancer that begins within a bone, is rare. It is more common for a tumor to spread from another area of the body to the musculoskeletal system.


UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials